Twenty-one years after stabbing a man to death in a brawl outside an Easter dance, an Oxnard market worker was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison for murder.
Marcos Ortiz Jr., 40, was convicted in August of killing Louis Provincio on March 18, 1976, and his sentencing moved swiftly and without comment Tuesday from Superior Court Judge Allan Steele.
Defense attorney Steve Powell asked the judge to throw out Ortiz's conviction and order a new trial because the jury was not properly instructed about the laws governing manslaughter. He also asked Steele to grant Ortiz probation instead of a prison term.
But Steele denied both motions, saying he agreed with a probation officer's report that said, "The crime was unprovoked, senseless and brutal."
He sentenced Ortiz to life in prison under laws applicable at the time of Provincio's death. The slaying would have carried a sentence of 25 years to life if Ortiz had been sentenced under current laws.
He also ordered Ortiz to pay $4,000 restitution to Benjamin Provincio, the victim's brother.
"I'm just glad it's over," Provincio said after Ortiz was sentenced. "I wasn't worried it wouldn't happen, but it took some time."
His daughter--the victim's niece, said the family had been praying that Ortiz would be brought to justice. "We're very happy," said Linda Provincio Quintero.
Witnesses testified that Ortiz and several other members of the East Side Classics Car Club were at an Easter dance at the Elks Lodge in Oxnard.
One club member testified that he saw Ortiz and three or four other members surround Provincio and kick him to the ground--and that Ortiz stabbed the man several times with a 4-inch blade.
Ortiz took the stand at his own trial to testify that he was in the parking lot that night and that several fights had broken out, but he denied ever attacking Provincio.
While seven other suspects wound up facing trials on charges ranging from assault to murder, Ortiz fled to Mexico soon after Provincio's death, authorities said.
After eluding police for years, Ortiz was caught in September when they booked him on a domestic violence charge, checked his name in national crime databanks and found an outstanding warrant for his arrest.