Man gets 26 years for Columbia stabbing

Victim seriously hurt during $20 marijuana sale, police said

August 13, 2010|By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore man convicted in last year's stabbing near the Mall in Columbia was sentenced Friday in Howard County Circuit Court to 26 years in prison.

Carlos Luis Ortiz, 22, of the 4000 block Greenspring Ave. in Baltimore has been serving a one-year jail sentence on a drug charge since September, seven months after William G. Collins was stabbed and Andrew David Rogers was beaten over a $20 marijuana sale.

The incident began at the Mall in Columbia the night of Feb. 28, 2009, when Collins and two friends met Ortiz and arranged to buy marijuana. The group, including two men with Ortiz, walked to a housing development five minutes from the mall, police said, but the customers grabbed the drugs and ran.

They became lost, however, and Ortiz and his friends found them, cornered them in a parking lot, beat them, stabbed Collins and fled, according to police. Ortiz was later identified by Collins from his bed at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Prosecutor Douglas Nelsen emphasized the previous drug conviction in asking Judge Lenore R. Gelfman for a long sentence for Ortiz. A jury convicted him in May of first-degree assault on Collins and second-degree assault on Rogers. Ortiz was acquitted of attempted-murder charges.

Gelfman agreed with Nelsen, saying, "I'm afraid if I give him another chance he might kill somebody or he might be killed. It's just too darned dangerous."

The judge sentenced Ortiz to 20 years in Collins' stabbing, and six years, to be served consecutively, in the assault on Rogers. She also ordered Ortiz to pay $40,580 restitution for Collins' medical bills.

Defense attorney Jonas T. Needleman had asked for a partially suspended sentence, arguing that a long sentence would merely "warehouse" Ortiz and block any chance he might have to straighten out his life.

Ortiz's family and friends, six of whom attended the sentencing, had written to the judge portraying him as a kind, loving man whose father has been in prison since Ortiz was 4.

Ortiz will be eligible for parole in 13 years.

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