An Allentown man unapologetically admitted gunning down an African refugee he didn't know last year during a night when he also assaulted his girlfriend and threatened to shoot other strangers.
Enrique M. Ortiz, 26, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, illegal gun possession, carrying a firearm without a license, possession of cocaine, simple assault, two counts of reckless endangerment and three counts of terroristic threats, all with the emotion of someone ordering a takeout meal over the phone.
Judge Robert L. Steinberg, who immediately sentenced Ortiz to 40 to 80 years in state prison, tried to evoke some kind of emotion by explaining to Ortiz that his victim, 22-year-old Hagos F. Mezgebo, left war-torn Eritrea in the Horn of Africa and resettled in the city through Catholic Charities only to be gunned down "in the mean streets of Allentown." The judge even pulled out a map to show Ortiz where Mezgebo came from so he could imagine his victim's journey to the United States for a better life. Still no emotion from Ortiz.