A man who was previously acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges after killing someone in a Biddeford apartment has now been sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison for a separate charge of possession of a firearm by a felon.
During a York County jury trial last year, 25-year-old Timothy Ortiz of New York City and Westbrook was cleared of the murder and manslaughter accusations after arguing that he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed 30-year-old Jonathan Methot during a dispute over an alleged drug debt on Sept. 26, 2016.
At the time, defense attorney Luke Rioux called the death “tragic” but maintained that Ortiz had been strangled before he fired three shots with his .357 revolver, including one that hit Methot in the face.
But two days later, federal prosecutors charged Ortiz with possession of a firearm by a felon. He pleaded guilty in January and was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Thursday, according to U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank.
Ortiz wasn’t allowed to possess a firearm because of an earlier conviction for aggravated sex trafficking and heroin distribution, which a Maine court handed down in 2016, Frank said.
While normal sentencing guidelines would suggest that Ortiz serve around three or four years in prison, Judge John Woodcock Jr. decided on a sentence that was twice as long. He called Ortiz’s criminal history “disturbing” and cited an “obvious” need to protect the public, according to Frank.
Ortiz’s sentence will also include three years of supervised release.