Julio Ortiz Found Guilty of Abel Roper's Murder
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Julio Ortiz has been found guilty on all counts against him in the death of Fruita resident Abel Roper.
Ortiz, 30, was convicted Friday night of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and conspiracy to commit tampering with physical evidence.
A Mesa County jury came back with their decision after the prosecution and defense rested in the murder trial that began March 7.
Prosecutors say Ortiz assaulted and stabbed Roper to death near his truck at Pioneer Village in Clifton after an altercation and high-speed chase from Cruisers Bar on Horizon Drive March 1, 2012.
Arrest affidavits say Julio's brother, Jose, and Roper were kicked out of the bar for fighting over a girl. Julio and Jose, along with friend Timothy Hanson, were then driving home when their vehicle was struck, authorities believe by Roper's truck.
After pursuing Roper to the trailer park in Clifton, prosecutors say Julio and Jose both had a hand in killing him.
Roper was stabbed 13 times. Jose has testified that he did not have a knife.
Jose Ortiz is also charged with first-degree murder and has yet to stand trial in his criminal case.
Prosecutors say Hanson will also face criminal charges.
Julio Ortiz is set for sentencing April 12.