Woman sentenced to over 25 years in prison for role in SDPD officer's death
Video Report By Steve Price, Reporter - bio | email
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A woman who holed up in a bedroom in a southeast San Diego apartment where an officer was killed as police were forcing their way inside was sentenced today to 25 years and four months in prison.
Melissa Ortiz, 24, pleaded guilty last month to voluntary manslaughter in connection with the Oct. 27, 2010, shooting death of Officer Christopher Wilson, a 17-year veteran.
She admitted turning off a light so officers entering the bedroom were completely "back-lit" and exposed, giving her friends an advantage against the officers standing in a lighted hallway.
Two other defendants were sentenced previously.
Patrick Luangrath, 22, who failed to obey orders to come out of the apartment, also pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 22 years and four months in prison.
Alex Charfauros, 29, was convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 85 years to life plus 11 years.
Prosecutor Michael Runyon said at Charfauros' trial that if he had told the truth about armed people holed up in his apartment, 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.
Officers forced their way into the apartment, and Charfauros came crawling out of the east bedroom.
Officers asked Charfauros if there were any guns, drugs or anyone else holed up inside, but the defendant was uncooperative, Runyon said.
A number of San Diego police officers were called to assist, including Wilson, who was shot in the head and died a short time later.
Lee and his girlfriend, Lucky Xayasene, were found dead in the bedroom from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Prosecutors said Lee fired the shot that killed Wilson.
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