The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the murder conviction of a man who wrote rap lyrics describing details of the gang-related slaying of a father of two in Redondo Beach, but denied being involved in the killing.
Erick Julian Ortega was convicted in June 2016 of first-degree murder for the June 21, 2013, shooting death of Bobby Reynolds, 38.
Jurors also found Ortega guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm, along with finding true allegations that he committed the crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang and that he personally discharged a firearm.
Ortega was arrested in May 2014 after authorities got a tip that he had fled to Utah, where he was working as a dishwasher in a restaurant. Tattoos, inked across his body, helped to identify him to the tipster, who had seen an FBI wanted poster online, according to authorities.
He refused to identify himself when he was confronted by agents from the FBI’s Salt Lake City office with a warrant for his arrest, and presented identification bearing his photo with someone else’s name.
During a search of the room he had been renting, investigators subsequently found rap lyrics referring to shooting someone five times in the back and disappearing “like Houdini,” Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Turk said.
Reynolds was shot four times in the back and suffered a graze wound to the head five days after being asked where he was from, according to the prosecutor.
Ortega, who testified in his own defense, contended that someone else had committed the crime and that he was told the details about the killing from that man after the crime.
He was sentenced to 94 years to life in state prison in August 2016.
Last September, a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s claim that there were errors in his trial at the Torrance courthouse.
–City News Service