When Subir Chatterjee passed away, the investigations of who was behind his death seemingly hit a dead end. However, using advanced technological methods, the authorities could find the person behind the crime years ago, leading to a long-awaited closure of this story. The same is covered in detail in Hulu’s ”Cold Case Files DNA Speaks: Killed for the Cash.’ If it has made you eager to learn more about the same, including the perpetrator’s identity, here is everything we know.
How Did Subir Chatterjee Die?
Having moved to the US from India, Subir Chatterjee was a father to one daughter (who turned 25 shortly after his death) and uncle to nephew Neil Chatterjee. Before 1997, he had been running a Chevron station in Texas’ Spring/Stuebner area for 14 years, where he also ran a check-cashing business. Nevertheless, Subir had to close the business after the expansion of Interstate 45, prompting him to look into a new location instead.
In 1997, Subir opened the Coastal Gas Station at 26914 Interstate 45 North, which also served as a check-cashing station. The nature of his business meant that his store often had a large amount of cash. On February 15, 2002, at around 12:50 PM, the authorities got a call about a homicide in the store. They arrived at the location to see 58-year-old Subir lying lifeless in the secured clerk’s booth. Given the close range at which he had been shot in the head with a gun, the investigators were inclined to believe whoever had committed the crime was someone the victim trusted.
“Chatterjee would let people in the booth if he knew them and felt secure,” shared Detective Kent Hubbard. “In that respect, we feel it was someone he knew and trusted.” Apart from killing Subir, the perpetrator took about $160,000 in cash from the store. Despite the blood on the crime scene, the lack of surveillance and leads, along with vague witness descriptions, meant that the investigators did not have much to follow to solve the case.
Who Killed Subir Chatterjee?
For over 15 years, the investigators had very few leads in Subir Chatterjee’s murder investigation. Yet, they apparently learned in 2018 that California law enforcement was using blood and DNA to find suspects and decided to use the same method. The blood samples found on the crime scene were sent to Parabon Nanolabs in Virginia, who investigated the evidence and linked it to three members of the Tellez family.
On December 4, 2019, it was discovered that the DNA extracted from the fork and coffee cup that Martin Isaac Tellez had used and a piece of toast he had eaten had DNA that matched the one found in the Coastal Gas Station. Linking him through his driver’s license and LinkedIn profile, the authorities arrested him on December 10, 2019, at his workplace and charged him with capital murder. At that time, it had been 17 years, nine months, and 25 days since Subir was found dead.
Ultimately, Tellez confessed to killing Subir while attempting to rob the money from the store. He shared that his blood was present at the crime scene because the victim had tried to attack him by hitting him on the head with a telephone. The robber-turned-killer shot Subir twice in the head, and the store owner would later be discovered by an employee who would report the crime to the authorities.
Where is Martin Isaac Tellez Now?
As the case was still being built against him, Martin Isaac Tellez decided to flee the country in early 2021. While he was out on a $500,000 bond, he cut off his GPS tracker and escaped to Mexico. Nevertheless, the Texas Rangers, the US Department of Homeland Security, and the US Marshals tracked Tellez down and convinced him to move back to the country and wait for his trial and sentencing.
On June 29, 2022, Martin Isaac Tellez pleaded guilty to the murder of Subir Chatterjee. Consequently, he was sentenced to 60 years in prison, with parole only possible after he completes at least 30 years of his punishment. Given that the crime was committed before 2002, his sentence for capital murder still included a clause for possible parole. Presently, Tellez is incarcerated at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – George Beto Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas. As dictated by his sentence, the now 46-year-old man’s sentence will last until January 20, 2081, though he will become eligible for parole in January 2051.