Woman pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter in 2010 death of o - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Woman pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter in 2010 death of officer at apartment complex

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A woman who holed up in a bedroom in a southeast San Diego apartment, leading police to make a forced entry during which a police officer was killed, pleaded guilty Thursday to voluntary manslaughter.

Melissa Ortiz, 24, also pleaded guilty to an April 2011 robbery at the Apple store in the Otay Ranch Towne Center, along with gang and gun allegations.

She will be sentenced to 25 years and four months in state prison at a hearing Oct. 17.

Ortiz was charged in July 2011 with murder in the Oct. 27, 2010, shooting death of San Diego police Officer Christopher Wilson, a 17-year veteran.

Ortiz admitted turning off a light so officers entering the bedroom were completely "back-lit" and exposed, giving her friends an advantage against the officers who were standing in a lighted hallway.

Patrick Luangrath, 22, who also failed to obey orders to come out of the apartment, previously pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced Thursday to 22 years and four months in prison.

Alex Charfauros, 29, was convicted last month of second-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder of a peace officer and is scheduled to be sentenced Monday. He faces life in prison.

Prosecutor Michael Runyon told jurors at Charfauros' trial that if he had told the truth about armed people holed up in his apartment on South Meadowbrook Drive, Wilson may not have been killed the night county probation officers and U.S. marshals went there.

Probation officers were checking on Charfauros, and the marshals were looking for Holim Lee, who had outstanding warrants for assault and a probation violation.

A man opened the door and said Charfauros wasn't home, then slammed it shut, Runyon said. Officers forced entry into the apartment and after a while, Charfauros came crawling out of the east bedroom.

Once outside, officers asked Charfauros if there were any guns, drugs or anyone else holed up inside, but the defendant was uncooperative, saying he had been at work, then went to sleep, Runyon said.

A number of San Diego police officers were called to assist, including Wilson, who also questioned Charfauros about who and what was still in the apartment, but the defendant said he didn't know, according to Runyon.

Wilson was shot in the head and died a short time later. He was 50.

Lee and his girlfriend, Lucky Xayasene, were found dead in the bedroom from self-inflicted gunshots wounds. Prosecutors said Lee fired the shot that killed Wilson.

Five guns were found in the apartment, along with 80 grams of methamphetamine, police said.

Six weeks before the fatal shooting, police were called to a different apartment belonging to Luangrath, forcing an hourlong SWAT action involving he and Ortiz, according to Runyon.

 

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