Santa Clarita man pleads not guilty
A Santa Clarita man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murdering his boyfriend, who was a UC San Diego student. Christian Alexander Ortiz, 22, is charged with killing Brayan “Brian” Rodriguez. The 20-year-old man’s body was found last Sept. 24 in Ortiz’s closet, and the defendant was arrested the following day by sheriff’s homicide detectives, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Deputies went to the home after receiving a call that a man was not breathing. The victim appeared to have been strangled and is believed to have died on Sept. 22. Friends and relatives had spent much of that weekend searching for Rodriguez, passing out flyers with his photo. They told reporters that Ortiz lived at the home where the body was found and that he was the victim’s boyfriend. Ortiz is due back in a San Fernando courtroom when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial. If convicted as charged, he could face up to 25 years to life in state prison.