San Antonio man found guilty of killing wife could get life in prison
Jurors are scheduled to begin hearing testimony at 10 a.m. Thursday in the punishment phase of Gabriel Martinez’s trial.
After deliberating 1 hour and 21 minutes Wednesday afternoon, the jury found Martinez, 37, guilty of murder in the shooting death of his wife, 35-year-old Lori Lee Ortiz.
Murder, a first degree felony, is punishable by a prison sentence of 5 to 99 years, or life in prison.
Ortiz was shot three times on May 18, 2016, in the bedroom of the home she shared with Martinez and their children on the Southwest Side. They had been having an on again, off again relationship since they met in high school.
Ortiz was pronounced dead at University Hospital the night of the shooting; Martinez was critically injured with a gunshot wound in the abdomen and was charged while he was still in the hospital.
On ExpressNews.com: Hospitalized man to be charged by proxy with murder in wife’s death
Prosecutors said Martinez shot her three times with an AK 47 rifle after he accused her of having an affair and then turned the weapon on himself in an attempted suicide.
Martinez took the stand to testify, a rare move for a defendant. He contradicted himself several times on the stand and gave varying versions of what happened. At one point, he said he was cleaning the gun before it went off; another time he said she reached for the gun when he told he was going to pawn it for cash and that he was shot as they struggled over the weapon, causing him to pass out. At still another point, he said that after he was shot, he was afraid he was going to be shot again so he took the rifle from her and threw it away from them before losing consciousness.
On ExpressNews.com: Husband takes stand in own defense; jury finds him guilty
In his closing argument, Martinez’s attorney also suggested she may have shot herself.
In the end, the jury was given the option of choosing the lesser charge of manslaughter as well as murder. Jurors decided Ortiz’s death was murder.
The trial, which started Friday, is in 379th state district court, Judge Ron Rangel presiding.