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'If you eat a butterfly, you become a butterfly': Hearing reveals details of Mexican Mafia killing

Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

When Ortiz was released in 2019, he reconnected with the woman he'd met in elementary school and eventually moved into her apartment in Chino. Hoping to keep Ortiz from slipping into old habits, the woman — identified in court only by her initials — didn't allow his friends from Whittier to visit.

Just after 4 p.m. on Nov. 19, 2021, she was walking back from the store with Ortiz when they saw a man lingering on the grass outside her building on Philadelphia Street.

Dressed "like a businessman," he held what looked like a business card in a gloved hand, she testified.

The man asked if he was Donald Ortiz. He said he was.

"We need to talk to you about a homicide," the man said. Ortiz said he didn't know anything about one.

"Are you sure you want to talk in front of her?" the man asked.


Then she saw the gun.

She closed her eyes and plugged her ears with her fingers. She heard several shots.

"I stood there with my eyes closed," she recalled, crying quietly, "waiting to be shot next. I stood there for what seemed like a long time. When I opened my eyes, I saw him walking away."

Ortiz lay in the gutter, shot in the head, a detective testified. Two 9-millimeter casings were found near his body.


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