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Valley Stream man sentenced to 35 years in fatal shooting

Orlando D. Ortiz, of Valley Stream, was convicted

Orlando D. Ortiz, of Valley Stream, was convicted on Monday, Dec. 22, 2014 on manslaughter and weapon charges for the December 2013 slaying of Richard Baccus, 50, of Rosedale. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Friday, May 8, 2015. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The eldest daughter of Richard Baccus implored a judge Friday to show no leniency when sentencing the Valley Stream man she called a monster who devastated her family by ending her father's life with nine bullets to his head.

Orlando Ortiz "showed him no mercy" and "still shows no remorse," Renita Baccus, 25, told State Supreme Court Justice William Donnino in Nassau County Court. The judge sentenced Ortiz to 35 years in prison.

The Queens woman recalled identifying the body of her father, 50, at the morgue. She described how her mother cried for months after the December 2013 slaying outside a Valley Stream restaurant, and how her sister went to her prom, graduated from high school and started college without the presence of the man "who was everything to us."

A jury in December convicted Ortiz, 32, of manslaughter and a gun charge, while also acquitting him of a second-degree murder charge after what Assistant District Attorney Brian Lee on Friday called an "intentional killing fueled by anger." He asked the judge to sentence Ortiz to 25 years in prison for manslaughter, with a 15-year sentence on the gun charge to run at the same time.

During the trial, prosecutors contended Ortiz shot Baccus, who was unarmed, after an argument between the acquaintances spilled out of Ay! Caramba restaurant. But Ortiz testified he fired into the BMW that Baccus was in after Baccus -- who'd said earlier he was a U.S. marshal and showed him a badge -- pointed a gun at him and said he'd kill him.

Defense attorney Stephen Drummond argued it was believable Ortiz had seen a black flashlight in Baccus' hands and mistook it for a gun. The Queens lawyer alleged police moved the flashlight from Baccus' hands to discredit a justification defense after finding the Rosedale resident's fake bounty hunter badge in the car and mistaking him for a law enforcement officer.

Defense attorney JoAnn Squillace later filed motions alleging juror misconduct that asked Donnino to set aside the verdict. Donnino ruled against the defense, saying in part that two jurors who alleged improprieties by other panel members hadn't repudiated the guilty verdicts.

Ortiz, whose attorneys will file an appeal notice, stood for a few seconds in court Friday to speak.

"I just want everyone to know that I'm deeply sorry," he said.

Donnino expressed condolences to the Baccus family and spoke of the precious nature of human life.

Then the judge imposed the sentence -- with 25 years for manslaughter and 10 years for the weapon conviction to run in a row -- a penalty acting District Attorney Madeline Singas later said would put Ortiz behind bars "for more years than the defendant has been living."

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