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Josue Ortiz

Other New York Guilty Plea Cases
On November 11, 2004, 25-year-old Miguel Camacho and his 36-year-old brother Nelson Camacho were gunned down in Buffalo, New York. Police believed the killings were drug-related.

Several days later, police said 22-year-old Josue Ortiz flagged a police car and declared that he had committed the crime. He was taken to a police station and confessed to the crime.

Ortiz was charged with the murders and pled guilty to two counts of first-degree manslaughter in Erie County Circuit in 2006. The plea came after lengthy court proceedings about Ortiz’s mental competency because he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

In 2012, the case against Ortiz came under question when federal prosecutors charged three gang members—Brandon Jonas, Efrain “Cheko” Hidalgo and Misael Montalvo—with the same murders that Ortiz pled guilty to. Hidalgo and Montalvo, according to federal prosecutors, admitted their role in the killings. Investigators learned that the murders, which were committed as part of a drug ring’s operation in Buffalo, were witnessed by Louis Camacho, a brother of the victims.

The brother told authorities that he saw suspects running from the scene of the homicides. He said he knew Ortiz—who is 6 feet, 6 inches tall—and that Ortiz was not one of the men he saw fleeing after the murders.

Authorities discovered that Ortiz attended the funeral of the Camacho brothers. They suspected that Louis Camacho may have told Ortiz details of the crimes.

In December 2014, Ortiz’s conviction was vacated and he was released on bond. In January 2015, the prosecution dismissed the charges against him.
 
Ortiz subsequently filed a claim for compensation with the New York Court of Claims.
 
In December 2015, Ortiz was arrested by federal agents after he purchased a shotgun and allegedly threatened a neighbor. He was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. In April 2016, lawyers for Ortiz filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Buffalo police department. In July 2016, Ortiz pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. He received three years probation.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 2/4/2015
Last Updated: 5/5/2016
State:New York
County:Erie
Most Serious Crime:Manslaughter
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2004
Convicted:2006
Exonerated:2015
Sentence:25 years
Race:Hispanic
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:22
Contributing Factors:False Confession
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No