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Youth Pleads No Contest in Slaying of Girl

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A North Hollywood teen-ager accused of murder in the April, 1993, shooting death of his 14-year-old girlfriend pleaded no contest Thursday to lesser charges that could send him to state prison for 10 years.

Jorge Ortega, 17, pleaded no contest to charges of assault with a firearm and filing false police reports. The plea came during pretrial hearings before San Fernando Superior Court Judge Meredith Taylor. He returns for sentencing on Jan. 13.

Jorge was arrested last year on the campus of San Fernando High School, where he was in 10th grade. The arrest occurred several days after the body of his girlfriend, Blanca Miriam Medina, was found in a Kagel Canyon stream bed.

Authorities said he helped Blanca’s family search for her when she disappeared after boarding a bus to school the previous Thursday. Later, other witnesses said he was seen driving with her the day after her parents reported her missing.

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Blanca, eager to escape her gang-infested Pacoima neighborhood, traveled each day to Byrd Middle School in Sun Valley, where she was a B student in a bilingual program.

Police said that Blanca, who was less than 5 feet tall, had been struck over the head and shot several times in the chest at close range.

Friends told police that Blanca was terrified of Jorge and had covered up the circumstances of a shooting that left her hospitalized for a week in January, 1993. At the time, police described the incident as a random drive-by shooting.


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