Corderrius “Pooche” Mitchell drove a group of his friends into a Hispanic area near Joor Road to commit an armed robbery the December 2011 night Fausto David Ortiz-Herrera was gunned down, a prosecutor argued to a jury Tuesday.
Mitchell, 24, who rejected an offer to plead guilty to manslaughter in return for a 25-year sentence, faces life in prison if convicted as charged on second-degree murder.
Three other Baton Rouge men — Keandre Duane Collins, 21; David Michael Betz, 23; and Reshaud Johnson, 32 — also are charged with second-degree murder in Ortiz-Herrera’s death and will be tried later.
Ortiz-Herrera’s brother, Hector Ortiz-Herrera, testified Tuesday he was in his driveway talking on the phone when he saw two black men pass by. Moments later, he heard four shots ring out and saw his brother, who was down the street with a friend, running back toward him. He collapsed face-down just shy of the Tracy Avenue home the brothers shared.
The brothers had recently moved to Baton Rouge from Honduras and had been living in the city for six months when Fausto David Ortiz-Herrera was killed. They worked construction jobs together.
East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Barrios told jurors in her opening statement that a car deputies pursued that night — a car owned by Mitchell — was believed to be involved in the fatal shooting.
Deputies had been called out to investigate the suspicious car, a silver Ford Crown Victoria, on Sunnybrook Drive behind Tracy Avenue when it drove away with its headlights off. The occupants fled when the car stopped on Crestaire Drive.
Barrios said Mitchell’s DNA was found on the steering wheel, but Mitchell’s attorney, Carson Marcantel, said it is no surprise his client’s DNA was discovered in his own car.
A Sheriff’s Office affidavit says DNA located inside the car matched Betz.
Barrios said two guns, a .380-caliber and a .45-caliber, were involved in the shooting, and Johnson’s DNA was found on a shell casing from the .45-caliber.
The trial resumes Wednesday in state District Judge Mike Erwin’s courtroom.