MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced today that a Nassau jury found a Valley Stream man guilty in the shooting death of a Queens man seated in his car in a parking lot in December 2013.
Orlando Ortiz was found guilty by the jury of Manslaughter in the 1st Degree (a B violent felony) and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree (a C violent felony) in a trial that lasted 6-1/2 weeks before Nassau County Court Judge William Donnino.
Ortiz faces up to 40 years in prison, and is due back in court for sentencing on March 6, 2015.
“It’s fitting that almost exactly one year after this defendant’s crime, a Nassau County jury has delivered its verdict on what exactly happened that night,” DA Rice said. “This defendant shot an unarmed man several times as he sat in his car, unable to defend himself. I am thankful for the jury’s hard work in carefully weighing all of the evidence and coming to the conclusion that only this defendant was responsible for the bloodshed that occurred that night.”
DA Rice said that on Dec. 23, 2013, at approximately 11:55 p.m., Ortiz fired multiple shots into the car where the victim, a 50-year-old man from Rosedale, Queens, was seated in the parking lot of Ay! Caramba in Valley Stream.
Prior to the incident, witnesses saw Ortiz and his victim drinking and arguing at the bar. Witnesses then saw Ortiz angrily following the victim to his car parked outside the bar, where the shooting occurred. The defense had argued at trial that the defendant mistakenly believed that a flashlight held by the victim was a gun pointed at him. No gun was recovered from the victim’s vehicle.
Assistant District Attorney Brian Lee, deputy chief of DA Rice’s County Court Trial Bureau, and ADA Timothy McNutt are prosecuting the case. Ortiz is represented by Stephen Drummond, Esq.; Joann Squallice, Esq.; and Scottie Celestin, Esq.