A Nassau County jury delivered a guilty verdict against a Valley Stream man Tuesday for the 2013 Christmas Eve shooting death of a Queens man seated in his parked car outside a restaurant.
Orlando Ortiz was found guilty of Manslaughter in the 1st Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree for gunning down 50-year-old Richard Baccus of Rosedale as he sat inside his BMW 525 in a parking lot near Ay Caramba on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream Dec. 23, 2013 at approximately 11:55 p.m.
Homicide detectives investigating the crime discovered Baccus had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“It’s fitting that almost exactly one year after this defendant’s crime, a Nassau County jury has delivered its verdict on what exactly happened that night,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced Tuesday. “This defendant shot an unarmed man several times as he sat in his car, unable to defend himself. I am thankful for the jury’s hard work in carefully weighing all of the evidence and coming to the conclusion that only this defendant was responsible for the bloodshed that occurred that night.”
Witnesses saw Ortiz and his victim drinking and arguing at the bar prior to the incident, her office said in a press release about the conviction. Ortiz was also spotted by witnessed angrily following Baccus to his car, it states.
The defense contended at trial that the defendant mistakenly believed a flashlight held by the victim to be a gun pointed at him, her office continues, yet no gun was recovered from the victim’s vehicle.
Ortiz, who was 31 years old at the time of the killing, is due back in court for sentencing on March 6, 2015. He faces up to 40 years in prison.