Local News

Convicted Killer Will Not Get Death Penalty In Landmark Case

Posted October 31, 2003 4:39 a.m. EST

— A convicted murderer will not pay the ultimate price for his crime.

A Wake County jury found Armando Ortez guilty of stabbing a Raleigh Laundromat owner to death in July 2002. However, the panel was evenly split on whether Ortez was mentally retarded, so Superior Court Judge John Jolly ruled that Ortez be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

By law, a person who is mentally retarded is defined as someone with an IQ of 70 or below and who had poor life skills at an early age. In 2001, a law was passed that prohibited the state from executing the mentally retarded.

Defense attorneys contended Ortez has an IQ of 65. However, during the sentencing part of the trial, a state psychologist testified that Ortez scored 77 on their IQ test and demonstrated he could function at a normal level.