Translate this page
Riverside gang member sentenced to death for
Friday, January 29th, 2010
Issue 04, Volume 14.
"The defendant's method was well thought out,'' Riverside County Superior Court Judge Paul Zellerbach said in sentencing 33-year-old George Anthony Hernandez.
"He carried out this crime in a cold-blooded manner,'' the judge said of the killing of Jorge Ortiz, who was slain in a bar parking lot on July 26, 2004.
Hernandez was convicted last August of first-degree murder with special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and committing a felony for the benefit of a street gang.
He was also found guilty of conspiracy and murder solicitation charges for asking a girlfriend to kill witnesses in his case.
According to Deputy District Attorney Michael Hestrin, Hernandez killed Ortiz to gain stature within the Mexican Mafia.
The defendant's affiliation with the inmate-run syndicate stemmed from his association with Arlanza 13, a Riverside gang rooted in the city's west side. Ortiz was also an Arlanza 13 gang member.
According to the prosecution, the 26-year-old victim was involved in a car theft with two other gang members in Moreno Valley when he was in his early teens. When the suspects were arrested, Ortiz cooperated with Riverside County sheriff's investigators, unlike his associates, according to Hestrin.
He said the action led toOrtiz being labeled a "snitch'' by Mexican Mafia bosses, who ordered Hernandez to kill him.
According to trial testimony, Hernandez met Ortiz at a Riverside bar, invited him out to his car and shot the victim five times with a 9 mm handgun as the two spoke in the parking lot.
Defense attorneys Chris Jensen and Ed Welbourn argued Hernandez wanted desperately to get out of killing Ortiz, but feared for his own life and the lives of family members if he didn't follow orders. The attorneys asked Zellerbach to overrule the jury's recommendation and reduce their client's sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
"Tony's life has value, particularly to his 12-year-old son,'' Welbourn said. "There are a lot of gang members who have killed other gang members,
and they're sitting in prison for life. In all of Tony's priors, he never, ever hurt anybody physically.''
Zellerbach acknowledged that Hernandez was "bright, intelligent and well-spoken.''
"He can convince people to do things they normally wouldn't,'' the judge said. "But he has chosen not to utilize those attributes in a positive, meaningful manner in our society.''
Prosecutors say that while jailed at Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, Hernandez gained the affections of a correctional deputy, Angela Parks, whom the defendant asked to murder eyewitnesses to the shooting.
Parks is scheduled to be tried later this year on conspiracy charges.
The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.
The Village NewsAnza Valley OutlookFallbrook.orgThe BoulevardSourcebookPDF VersionCoupon CornerSign up for iNewsEarthquake Info
355 Medical marijuan...
262 Arrests now numb...
175 Authorities seek...
168 Man hit, killed ...
124 Mother-in-law ar...
122 Camp Pendleton a...
121 Authorities dist...
120 Bikers steering ...
117 Double fatality ...
116 22 suspected ill...
114 Temecula mosque ...
110 Governor Brown s...
107 Bonsall man (lon...
105 U.S. Marine corp...
105 Preliminary hear...