Judge revokes bail for Jose Luis Bonilla-Ortiz in 2009 murder of Richard Gonzalez in Reading
Convicted killer facing up to 77 years in prison, DA says
A Berks County judge has revoked bail for a man convicted of third degree murder in a shooting that killed one man and wounded others in Reading nearly four years ago.
Judge Jeffrey Sprecher initially set bail at $250,000 for Jose Bonilla-Ortiz , who was found guilty Monday for the death of Richard Ganzalez, of Prince George's County, Md., in November 2009.
The Berks County district attorney's office filed an emergency request and argued Ortiz, 32, was a danger to the community if he were to be released from jail.
"He's been convicted of murder, he's also been convicted of shooting two other individuals," said District Attorney John Adams.
Tensions ran high in court Wednesday as both sides made their case. Ortiz's family and neighbors were willing to put up their homes and raise the money, but the judge changed his mind after prosecutors presented evidence of Ortiz's long rap sheet and violent past.
"I was concerned for the safety of this community, and also I was concerned for the witnesses who testified against this individual," said Adams.
Ortiz was found guilty of third degree murder Monday for killing Gonzalez and wounding others during a shooting at a speak easy in the 500 block of Schuylkill Avenue in Reading.
Detectives and parole officers, called by the prosecution, told the court Ortiz admitted he used to make money breeding pit bulls, and at one time by selling drugs. They testified he was shot in 2005 in Reading as a drug deal was going down, and said he was associated with the Bloods gang.
Ortiz's attorney, William Bernhart, argued his client never threatened anyone, and said Ortiz was looking forward to spending time with his children.
"I believed he posed a substantial flight risk, and it was appropriate this individual stay incarcerated," said Adams.
Adams said witness intimidation was such a problem for detectives on the case that he had to call on a grand jury to investigate and compel witnesses to testify, ultimately leading to the charges being filed against Ortiz nearly a year after the shooting.
Ortiz is facing up to 77 years in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 25.
Both his family and defense attorney had no comment.
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