FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 14, 2012
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Woman Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison
For 2007 Slaying of Close Friend
-Defendant Was Arrested in Argentina, Brought Back for Trial-
WASHINGTON – Blanca Ortiz, 47, formerly of Silver Spring, Md., was sentenced today to eight years in prison on a charge stemming from the January 2007 slaying of a woman inside a Northwest Washington apartment, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Ortiz pled guilty in July 2012, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to a charge of voluntary manslaughter in an Alford plea. Under such a plea, the defendant does not admit the allegations but agrees that the government has enough evidence to secure a conviction. She was sentenced by the Honorable Ronna L. Beck. Ortiz is to be deported to her native Argentina following the completion of her prison term.
According to the government’s evidence, Ortiz had a close personal relationship with the victim, Gabriela Lopez Hernandez. Ms. Hernandez, 29, died sometime between midnight and noon on Jan. 8, 2007 from multiple stab wounds. Her body was found the following day in the bathtub of her efficiency apartment in the 1800 block of Columbia Road NW. The crime scene had been extensively cleaned with bleach prior to the arrival of law enforcement.
Surveillance videos established that Ortiz was in the victim’s apartment building for more than three hours on the day of the murder. Additionally, District of Columbia records showed that Ortiz received a parking ticket on her car on the morning of the slaying; the vehicle was parked alongside the apartment building. Later on Jan. 8, 2007, a day before the victim’s body was found, Ortiz told a close friend, “Gabby’s dead.” Gabby is the victim’s nickname.
Ortiz was indicted in October 2010 on a charge of first degree premeditated murder while armed. She has been in custody since her arrest on Sept. 30, 2011 in Argentina. She was extradited to the District of Columbia. She entered her plea on the day that her trial was to begin.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of the officers, detectives and crime scene technicians who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). In particular, he cited the detectives of the MPD’s Cold Case Squad for their outstanding efforts in the investigation and extradition in this case.
U.S. Attorney Machen also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate Yvonne Bryant and Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles W. Cobb, who indicted the case. Finally, he thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deborah Sines and Glenn L. Kirschner, who prosecuted the matter.12-445