SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - An Oviedo man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the strangling death of his mother. Joshua Ortiz, 21, pleaded no contest to second-degree murder. He had previously confessed to killing his mother, 45-year-old Jackie Ortiz, during a fight in their Oviedo home back in October of 2014.
"You're going to enter a plea of no contest as to count one, second degree murder," said Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson. "When you enter a plea of no contest, you're giving up certain rights, and one of those rights is the right to have a trial."
Pleading no contest means Ortiz did not admit his guilt in court; however, he did tell authorities following his arrest that he strangled his mother last fall and then stole her car. He was later found in Maryland. Emotional family members fought back tears as they made statements in court.
Ortiz's attorney, Thomas Greene, said Ortiz had struggled with drug abuse and mental illness. He added that the family had tried to get help. "It's a failure of the system to deal with people that abuse a drug to the extent that it aggravates a preexisting mental condition, and they become violent."
Ortiz's father, Carmelo Ortiz, said that what he wants for his son is treatment, not prison time. "Unless you live in a household with someone who struggles, you don't really realize what's going on in that house," he said. "His mother and I suffered for many years trying to get him help."
The young Ortiz had little to emotional response as the judge addressed him, but he broke into tears when family members spoke.