McFarland USA alum, Johnny Ortiz, is facing premeditated murder charges. The actor and his 18 year old, co-defendant Armando Miguel Navarro, appeared in court in downtown Los Angeles this morning on felony charges.
The Criminal Complaint
According to the criminal complaint, Ortiz and his co-defendant, Armando Miguel Navarro, attempted to kill Brian Duke. “For the benefit of, at the direction of, and in association with a criminal street gang with the specific intent to promote, further and assist in criminal conduct by gang members.” The complaint alleges that 18 year old Navarro used a handgun to shoot Duke during the May 24 incident.
Ortiz has pleaded not guilty
Both Ortiz and Navarro are being held in custody by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. The DA’s office recently revealed that Ortiz and his co-defendant both appeared before a judge on Monday and the case is set for a preliminary hearing on September 22. Ortiz has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
However, If the actor is found guilty on the “attempted willful, deliberate, and premeditated attempted murder” charges. Ortiz is looking at 25 years to life in state prison under the California Penal Code. According to the complaint filed by prosecutors on May 27, the actor will also face a decade more in additional sentences. Ortiz is currently being held on $1.1 million bail in a DTLA facility.
Navarro, who allegedly fired the shots at Duke, is being held on a bail of just over $2 million. The sentencing requirements are to be harsher than Ortiz. Navarro might be looking at life in a cell if found guilty.
“He is in jail fighting for his case that he is innocent on”
Ortiz’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds in order to have the actor released on bond.
“Johnny is everything to our family,” the post reads. “Johnny does everything to help the community and the Hispanic community especially. He has contributed to many non-profit organizations and community organizations. He is in jail fighting for his case that he is innocent on. We want our beloved family member back with us.” According to reports, as of this afternoon, the effort has raised just $780 of its desired $100,000 goal.
Ortiz starred alongside Kevin Costner in Disney’s McFarland USA in 2015. He also had roles in the 2019 Netflix film El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie and the 2018 film Peppermint, starring Jennifer Garner.
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