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Suspect in murder of Yadhira Romero Martinez in court: 'This is unfair to me'

Jose Daniel Cuenca Zuniga made his first court appearance since being extradited back to Hennepin County for the death of Yadhira Romero Martinez.

MINNEAPOLIS — In his first court appearance since the death of Yadhira Romero Martinez, Jose Daniel Cuenca Zuniga said he wants to return to his home country. Despite his attorney's protests, the murder suspect continued speaking during the hearing, protesting the bail amount set by the judge.

"I didn't have anything to do with this issue, and this is unfair to me," Cuenca Zuniga said through a translator in Spanish.

Cuenca Zuniga is now held in the Hennepin County Jail on $750,000 bond.

Cuenca Zuniga also has a pending case for allegedly beating up another woman in a Minnetonka hotel last year.

And KARE 11 has uncovered new details from another disturbing case involving a young woman.

A disturbing video of Jose Daniel Cuenca Zuniga pointing a gun at the camera then at his own head, saying, "B***, I don't care," is what he sent an Elk River woman in September 2017.

"I think its his way of communicating that he has some measure of power," the woman told Elk River Police the next day.

She shared with police the video and a series of text messages she received from Cuenca Zunica, a co-worker whom she knew as "Daniel." He wanted a relationship with her, and when he learned she went to a baseball game with another man, he sent a series of threats, including: 

  • "I'm going to put a bullet in your head for not being real."
  • "You do not know what I'm capable of"
  • "People like you lying must not exist"
  • "I'm going to kill you... for real."

"How did that all make you feel?" the Elk Point officer asked the woman.

"Um, not safe. But also bad, because he really seems to be struggling with some serious bipolar depression," she answered.

"Do you feel there is any possibility he'd follow through with the threats?" the officer asked.

At that point, the woman nodded and started crying, expressing both fear of Cuenca Zunica as well as compassion because of what she thought were mental health issues.

"I'm going to ruin his life by doing this," she cried.

"Well, like I said, it's not your fault. You didn't do anything wrong. It's possible he can get help, because of this," the officer replied.

Cuenca Zuniga was charged in Sherburne County with a felony count of "Threats of Violence."

But before his trial, the Sherburne County Attorney's office gave him a plea bargain. He was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of "harassing phone calls" and spent one year on probation.

"He doesn't think that he has problems, which is scary to me," the victim told police.

RELATED: Murder suspect has history of instilling fear in young woman

RELATED: Minneapolis man charged with murder in death of 19-year-old woman

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