Man agrees to plea deal in 2012 slaying

JOSE ORTIZ: Testified against brother in stabbing of Fruita man

A man whose testimony helped convict his brother of first-degree murder may avoid prison in connection with the fatal stabbing of a Fruita man last spring.

Jose Ortiz, 31, pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal trespass of an auto, tampering with physical evidence and misdemeanor third-degree assault for his role in the March 1, 2012, stabbing death of 31-year-old Abel Roper.

Jose Ortiz faces as little as probation and a maximum four-year, six-month sentence to prison under the terms of an agreement reached with prosecutors. The District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday dismissed all other charges in the case, including first-degree murder.

Prosecutors during last month’s trial of Jose’s brother, Julio, 30, said Jose would get “consideration” for truthful testimony against his younger brother in Roper’s death. Roper, who suffered 13 stab wounds, was found dead at Pioneer Village mobile home park, 3195 F Road.

Jose Ortiz, who admitted assaulting Roper in his truck, testified during his brother’s trial he believed Julio had stabbed Roper but insisted he never witnessed it. Jose later provided writings to authorities that implicated his brother. He also claimed to be “afraid” of his younger brother.

Julio Ortiz, who was convicted at trial March 15, was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Jose Ortiz will be sentenced July 29.


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