El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, McFarland USA and American Crime Story actor Johnny Ortiz could spend the rest of his life behind bars. Ortiz appeared at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown LA yesterday to face a number of charges, the most serious being the attempted murder of one Brian Duke. The indictment says this was conducted “for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in association with a criminal street gang with the specific intent to promote, further and assist in criminal conduct by gang members.”
First arrested in late May along with co-defendant Armando Miguel Navarro, the pair are accused of “attempted willful, deliberate, and premeditated attempted murder.” Navarro is accused of pulling the trigger and while it’s not immediately clear what role Ortiz played, it’s obviously central enough that prosecutors have pursued the most serious charges against him. If found guilty, he’s looking at 25 to life under the California Penal Code, with possibly another decade on the cards for additional offences.
Ortiz pleaded not guilty and is currently being held on $1.1 million bail in a DTLA facility (with his co-defendant being held at $2 million). His family set up a GoFundMe to try and raise the bail money, explaining on the page that:
“Johnny is everything to our family. Johnny does everything to help the community and the Hispanic community especially … he is in jail fighting for his case that he is innocent on.”
As of yesterday, the page had apparently received just $900 of the $1.1 million, and now seems to have been taken down completely. So yeah, things are not looking good for Johnny Ortiz.
Next up is a preliminary hearing on September 22nd, at which point a trial date sometime in 2021 should be fixed. Here’s hoping we get some more details about the crime and Ortiz’s involvement in it. But at the moment, it looks very likely that he’s going to be spending the rest of his life behind bars.