San Angelo man enters guilty plea, sentenced to prison for March 2019 murder of Ernesto Hernandez


SAN ANGELO, Texas – On March 4, 2020, Gabriel James Ortiz Sr., now 44, pleaded guilty to the murder of Ernesto Hernandez, 28. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison and ordered to pay $6,875.34 in restitution.

The killing happened on March 19, 2019 in the 2000 block of Walnut Street. According to police, they were dispatched to that location just before 4:30 p.m. in response to a shooting. When Police arrived they knew the description of the alleged shooter, later identified as Ortiz, and found him on Bailey Street. Ortiz was arrested without incident.

According to court documents, Hernandez was found deceased from multiple gunshot wounds in the yard of the residence on Walnut Street.

Ortiz made bond and was released from jail on March 21, 2019, less than 48 hours after being arrested for a murder charge.

However, Ortiz was arrested again on March 25, 2019 in Winters, Texas after further investigation found he allegedly planned to retaliate against a potential murder witness. Court records indicate Ortiz threatened retaliation against a woman. Police conducted an interview with an inmate who had spoken with Ortiz. The inmate told police while he was cutting Ortiz’s hair, a news report came on television and Ortiz saw a women who was crying. Ortiz made a comment about the woman being unfaithful and said “She’s next.”

Police located Ortiz at a home in Winters, Texas and arrested him without incident.

Since that time, Ortiz has remained in the Tom Green County Jail. He will remain there until he is transported to a state facility.

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