The Murder of Subir Chatterjee Explained

By Romey Norton
Published: August 17, 2023 (Last updated: August 18, 2023)
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The Murder of Subir Chatterjee Explained

The Murder of Subir Chatterjee – We discuss the 2023 Hulu true crime series Cold Case Files: DNA Speaks, which contains details that some readers may find disturbing.

Cold Case Files: DNA Speaks is a true crime series on Hulu that examines old cold case files that have now been solved through advancements in forensic technology.

There is one episode that follows the murder of Subir Chatterjee and the one detective who wouldn’t let the case run cold. There are first-class interviews with law enforcement, the victim’s family and friends, and the public.

The Murder of Subir Chatterjee

Who is Subir Chatterjee?

Subir Chatterjee was a 42-year-old co-owner of a gas station and convenience store in Texas, which he has worked at since 1997. He was a husband to Banani, and together they had built a life together.

A hard-working businessman, Chatterjee had previously owned a Chevron station for 14 years. Chatterjee also ran a check-cashing business at that station. 

How did Subir Chatterjee die?

In Oak Ridge North (Texas), on February 15, 2002, Subir Chatterjee was shot and killed at the Coastal gas station and convenience store that he co-owned. Roughly between $160,000 and $200,000 was stolen during the robbery/murder, making that the clear motive.

The autopsy report indicated that Chatterjee was shot with a .32-caliber handgun. 

Who murdered Subir Chatterjee? 

Even though DNA was collected and recovered at the scene, the case remained unsolved for twenty years despite suspicions of Martin Isaac Tellez. According to reports, there was an intensive investigation by Texas Rangers, but despite their best efforts, the law enforcement had few leads. There were vague witness descriptions, no surveillance video, and no suspects available.

As Chatterjee was shot and killed inside the bulletproof casing in the store behind the counter, they assumed that the suspect could have been someone Chatterjee knew and trusted. There was also speculation that the gun was owned by Chatterjee, so someone he knew might have known where it was – taking it and using it against him. 

How did DNA evidence convict Martin Isaac Tellez years later?

However, it’s down to the persistence of one Detective Hubbard, who worked various leads for over fifteen years before coming across an article on how law enforcement in California used genealogy and DNA to solve homicide cases, which came to the arrest of Martin Isaac Tellez. 

On December 4, 2019, Hubbard learned that the DNA extracted from a fork, coffee cup, and piece of toast collected from a table where Martin Isaac Tellez had eaten was an exact match to the DNA from the crime scene. A DPS analyst was able to re-examine the fingernail scrapings from Chatterjee’s autopsy and discovered Tellez’s DNA underneath the victim’s fingernails.

17 years, nine months, and 25 days after committing the crime, Hubbard arrested Martin Tellez, charging him with Capital Murder. 

Where is Martin Isaac Tellez now? 

Tellez confessed to murdering Chatterjee while robbing him, going into depth about how his blood was present at the scene because Chatterjee struck him in the head with a telephone to defend himself. Awaiting trial, Tellez was out on a $500,000 bond, cut off his GPS monitoring device, and fled to Mexico. He was successfully tacked down and returned to the United States. 

On Tuesday, the 28th of June 2022, Martin Isaac Tellez, aged 45, pleaded guilty to murder in exchange for a sentence of 60 years and was sentenced to exactly 60 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division.

He will be required to serve one-half of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

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