Where is John Sandoval Now? Explained

By Louie Fecou
Published: May 10, 2023 (Last updated: June 2, 2023)
Where is John Sandoval Now

Where is John Sandoval Now? We examine a fascinating true crime story from the 1990s and where the criminal is today. 

Since 1992, Dateline from NBC has provided content that includes documentaries, investigations, and analyses of some of the world’s most frightening and controversial cases. The show itself has evolved into a true crime series and produces a podcast, sometimes known as a show cast, as it features the audio track of an episode.

The episode “The Devil Was Watching” tells the harrowing story of how John Sandoval committed murder in October 1995.

The twisted case captured the imagination of viewers of the show, and the shocking story has had true crime fans perusing the on-screen evidence of the case in the hope of gaining some clarity about what happened.

In this article, we will answer at least the questions people have been asking, starting with one question, where is John Sandoval now?

Who is John Sandoval?

John Sandoval was studying at AIMS Community College in Greeley, Colorado, in the mid-80s, and this would be where he would meet Kristina Mari. Tina, as she was known, was progressing towards an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, while John was hoping to become a Radiology Technician.

On New Year’s Eve 1991, they would marry in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. It would only take two years before Tina would file for divorce. Estranged from John, she would leave their home for a new apartment and start to date again.

The show explained how Tina would discover her husband John was a voyeur, and had been stalking women, sometimes following them home, allegedly entering their houses and removing clothing items from them.

The police would be alerted and often arrive at the house of John and Tina, and this was the last straw for Tina, who would leave him at this point.

She would tell co-workers later that she felt John was stalking her, as she would see his car parked outside her new apartment.

What did John Sandoval do?

John’s behavior would grow more menacing and bizarre. In an incident to try and save his marriage, John would allegedly point a gun at Tina and even threaten to commit suicide. She had confided in her doctor and expressed her concerns about John’s actions, and on October 19th, 1995, Tina went missing.

Evidence showed that she had arranged a meeting with John, and police considered John to be the main suspect in the disappearance case.

The police would arrange a stakeout at his home, and when he returned in the early hours of Monday, October 20th, they would arrest him on a charge of trespassing, allowing them to search his car.

John would try and escape from the police, but he would be captured, and the car search results in the police finding a shovel and muddied clothes. John was taken to the police station and questioned, and officers noted that he had scratch marks on his face and body.

John would be interrogated and would try to bite his nails in an attempt to clean them. He would offer up no information about anything that had happened. The police would not be able to find Tina, and with no body, witnesses, or evidence, the District Attorney released John without charge.

Where is John Sandoval now?

It would seem that Tina’s disappearance would become a cold case. However, a new District Attorney would look at the case again and re-assess the evidence that had been gathered. After fourteen years, John was arrested again, and on June 18th, 2009, he was charged with first-degree murder. One of the witnesses that would come forward was Jesse Martinez.

Jesse was a cousin of John’s; according to reports, he had started a relationship with Tina a month before her separation from John. His testimony was vital in John’s conviction, and Jesse would tell the jury that John had been stalking Tina before murdering her.

John would be sentenced to life imprisonment on August 5th, 2010. However, the story did not end there. Nearly eight years after the sentencing, issues would arise over John’s case, and these technical details led to the Colorado Court of Appeals overturning John’s guilty verdict on March 17th, 2016.

A new trial date was set, and the District Attorney’s office was preparing for the new trial. However, John suddenly decides to offer the police information on the whereabouts of Tina’s body. This was in exchange for a new plea deal that would result in a reduced sentence for John.

Nearly 22 years after Tina’s disappearance, John would tell the police where Tina’s body could be found. The murderer had hidden the body at Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Greeley. Officers would find the grave John directed them to and would find Tina’s decomposed remains buried there.

John was allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder in 2017 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison and five years on parole. This sentence would be backdated to August 2010, when he was originally convicted of first-degree murder. John continues serving his sentence at the Trinidad Correctional Facility.

How long is John Sandoval’s prison sentence?

John Sandoval entered a plea in 2017 and was sentenced to twenty-five years. As he had already spent time in jail, he was given credit for the time served. This made him eligible for parole in 2020. However, John is still incarcerated, his next parole hearing is in 2026, which means he has an expected release date in 2032.

You can watch Dateline: The Devil Was Watching on Peacock TV.

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