Ortiz found guilty on both counts in Ed Ross murder
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Abel Ortiz, 20, has been found guilty of first-degree felony murder and attempted robbery.
The trial against Ortiz wrapped up Thursday. He’s being held partly responsible for the murder of 30-year-old Edward Ross, who was shot inside his dad’s house in December of 2019.
State attorneys said it was a robbery gone wrong. Five men, including Ortiz, were all arrested with charges related to the incident but only one person was acquitted.
Ortiz was previously tried twice, both ultimately ending in mistrials.
Earlier this week jurors heard from two witnesses, both claiming Ortiz confessed to shooting ross. A third confession was played for the jury, in a recorded interview with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office that happened just two months after the incident.
One of the most prominent blind spots during the trial is both the neighbor and Ross’ father identified the gunmen as three black males. It came up in closing arguments, beginning with the prosecution.
“Seven o’clock on a Sunday evening, three gunmen burst in, and within 30 seconds, he shot his son five times. He’s laying on the ground, he’s traumatized. So he identified three black males, I’m sure identifying people and memorizing what they looked like on top of his schedule, I’m sure he was focused on the fact his son was laying on the ground dying,” state prosecutor Mark Graham said.
The defense went next trying to place doubt in the jurors’ minds, saying if Ortiz was at the door, then Ross’ father should be able to I.D. him.
“Still, on Tuesday he can’t I.D. the unmasked, undisguised person that comes to the door. I submit to you that if Mr. Ortiz was the one to come to the door, then Mr. Ross would have been able to identify him,” defense attorney Craig Meredith said.
The jury deliberated for four hours before reaching a verdict.
Ortiz’s sentencing is set for November 8th at 8:30 a.m.
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