The man acquitted last year of murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of a Biddeford man pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Portland to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The gun Timothy Ortiz admitted to having illegally was the one he used to shoot Jonathan Methot, 30, in September 2016 in argument over an alleged drug debt, according to court documents.
Jurors concluded that Ortiz, 25, formerly of New York City and Westbrook, acted in self-defense.
A sentencing date has not been set.
His plea agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office calls for him to be sentenced to between seven years and eight months and nine years and seven months in federal prison, the sentence recommended under federal sentencing guidelines.
The federal court system has continued to operate during the government shutdown by using savings to fund operations. The judiciary will run out of money Friday, according to information posted on the website for the U.S. District Court of Maine.
Federal prosecutors, who work for the U.S. Department of Justice, have worked without pay during the shutdown because the courts continued to operate.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee declined to comment on Ortiz’s plea. It is the practice of the office not to comment on pending cases.
Defense attorney Luke Rioux of Portland, who successfully defended Ortiz in the state trial, confirmed Friday that his client had pleaded guilty to the federal gun possession charge and would face a sentence consistent with the sentencing guidelines.
Ortiz was forbidden from possessing a firearm due to his conviction Feb. 5, 2016, in Cumberland County court on charges of aggravated sex trafficking and unlawful furnishing of scheduled drugs. Under Maine law, both charges are felonies.
The federal affidavit said that several witnesses saw Ortiz in the days leading up to the shooting with a silver .357 revolver. The gun was found hidden above a ceiling tile in the bathroom of the Westbrook apartment where Ortiz fled following the shooting, the affidavit said.
Ortiz came to the attention of federal law enforcement in the fall of 2015 when investigators began looking into a possible sex and drug trafficking ring in Biddeford, according to the affidavit.