Mota-Cruz, 25, of Worcester was arraigned in Worcester District Court Friday on charges of murder, armed assault to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, possessing a firearm in a felony, carrying a loaded firearm without a license to carry, possessing ammunition without a FID card and other firearm charges.
A group of people who appeared to be related to Ortiz sobbed in the courtroom as Mota-Cruz appeared. They declined to comment after the arraignment.
Mota-Cruz was driving a black Mercedes sedan in the area of the shooting, according to court documents.
A witness told police that Mota-Cruz went to 15 Everard St. with the intent to collect a debt from Ortiz, court documents read. The two men argued in the front hall of the address and were the only people present in that area.
“During the argument, there was an explosion,” court documents read. “Following the explosion, Mota-Cruz fled the area in the Mercedes. Mota-Cruz told the witness that he had to do what he had to do.”
Police officers discovered Ortiz with a single gunshot wound to his head. There was no firearm near Ortizs body or on the premises, court documents read.
Mota-Cruz was arrested earlier this month in New York, where he was charged with being a fugitive from justice.
A warrant was issued for Mota-Cruz out of Worcester District Court in early September in connection with the Aug. 24 fatal shooting of 42-year-old Ortiz.
Charges against Mota-Cruz were upgraded to include murder. Initially, he faced aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, armed assault with intent to murder and several firearms charges.
Jermaine Daye, 29, of Worcester is charged with being an accessory after the fact to aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He was held on $5,000 cash bail at his arraignment earlier this month in Worcester District Court.
Chayenne Markland, 28, of Worcester was held on $20,000 cash bail on Sept. 4 after he was arraigned on accessory charges.
Authorities said that Mota-Cruz and Markland went to collect a debt from Ortiz on the night of the shooting.
Daye was told his car was used in the shooting but failed to notify police, according to court documents. Authorities said Daye was seen on surveillance video cleaning the inside of the car on Aug. 26 and removing the floor mats.
WORCESTER — The alleged gunman in a fatal shooting last month on Everard Street was ordered held without bail Friday on murder and related charges after having been arrested last week in New York.
Kennie Mota-Cruz, 25, of 44 Stanton St., who was wanted in the Aug. 24 shooting death of 42-year-old Jose Ortiz at 15 Everard St., was returned to Worcester Thursday night and was arraigned Friday morning in Central District Court.
A warrant had been issued Sept. 10 out of the Worcester court charging Mr. Mota-Cruz with armed assault with intent to murder, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and firearm offenses in connection with the slaying of Mr. Ortiz. The suspect was taken into custody Sept. 12 in Dunkirk, N.Y. on a fugitive from justice charge and was brought back to Worcester Thursday night after waiving rendition, according to Timothy J. Connolly, a spokesman for District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.
An autopsy conducted by the state medical examiners office confirmed after the arrest that the death of Mr. Ortiz, who was shot in the head, was a homicide and police said they expected the charges against Mr. Mota-Cruz to be upgraded.
A murder charge was lodged against Mr. Mota-Cruz Friday and he appeared before Judge Richard A. Eustis for arraignment. Not-guilty pleas were entered by the court on all of the charges.
Assistant District Attorney Brett F. Dillon told Judge Eustis that he and Mr. Mota-Cruzs lawyer, Tom G. Vukmirovits, were in agreement that the suspect be held without bail and that his case be continued to Nov. 2. Judge Eustis held Mr. Mota-Cruz without bail and continued the case to the date requested.
Police officers went to Everard Street about 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24 in response to a reported shooting and found Mr. Ortiz with a gunshot wound to his head in the third-floor front hallway at 15 Everard St. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators were told that Mr. Mota-Cruz and another man, Chayenne Markland, went to 15 Everard St. that night to collect a debt from Mr. Ortiz and that Mr. Mota-Cruz and Mr. Ortiz argued before the shooting, according to court records. Mr. Mota-Cruz allegedly stated after the shooting that he “had to do what he had to do,” according to a statement of facts filed by police in court.
Mr. Markland, 28, of 10 West Oberlin St., who allegedly drove Mr. Mota-Cruz from the shooting scene in a black Mercedes, has been charged with being an accessory, after the fact, to aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Police allege that the car used was owned by Jermaine Daye, 29, of 56 Great Brook Valley Ave., who has also been charged with being an accessory, after the fact, to aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
It is alleged that Mr. Daye was told his vehicle had been used in the shooting and that he was captured on surveillance video two days later cleaning the inside of the car and removing the floor mats and placing them in the trunk.
Investigators said they obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and that several areas inside tested positive for the possible presence of blood.