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He left their Oakland hotel room covered in blood, but claimed woman had died of suicide inside. The DA has dismissed the case


OAKLAND — In a surprising reversal, Alameda County prosecutors have dismissed a murder case against a 39-year-old man, now conceding they can’t prove charges that kept the defendant behind bars for five months.

Juan Gonzalez-Ortega, 39, was charged last August with murdering Delicia Elizabeth Ojeda over perceived infidelity in their romantic relationship. The case made it past a December 2023 preliminary hearing, where a judge noted there were some indications Ojeda had died of suicide, not homicide, but allowed the case to proceed anyway.

Then, in January, prosecutors dismissed the case due to “lack of evidence,” according to a minute order, and Gonzalez-Ortega was released from jail. The dismissal has not been previously reported.

The allegations against Gonzalez-Ortega were serious, but the case had potential problems from the start. Surveillance footage showed him and Ojeda entering a North Oakland hotel room together on Aug. 1, 2023. Later that afternoon, Gonzalez-Ortega was seen exiting, alone, covered in blood. That happened after a 911 caller reported hearing a gunshot come from the rom, authorities said.

Police responded the following day and discovered Ojeda’s body inside. The bullet wound was below her chin, and a forensic pathologist told police that it could have been from homicide or suicide. She also had scars on her wrists that could have indicated a prior suicide attempt, according to testimony at Gonzalez-Ortega’s preliminary hearing.

Police testified that Gonzalez-Ortega had accused Ojeda of seeing him and another man simultaneously and pointed to that conflict as a potential motive.

Because the two were alone in the hotel room at the time of the shooting, there were no eyewitnesses. The only person who came close was a guest at the hotel, who testified he heard intense screaming coming from the room.

“She was screaming for her mother, I believe. And her sister,” the man testified at the December hearing. “It was the type of screaming that you don’t want to hear.”

Gonzalez-Ortega’s attorney, who didn’t respond to requests for comment on the dismissal, argued at the hearing that the gun was placed “flush” against Ojeda’s chin and that there was no motive for murder. Judge Mark McCannon agreed with prosecutors there was enough to hold Gonzalez-Ortega to answer, but the legal standard for preliminary hearings is far below what jurors are tasked with to find guilt at trial.

Additional resource: If you or someone you know is struggling with feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free, round-the-clock support, information and resources for help. Reach the lifeline at 988 or see the SuicidePreventionLifeline.org

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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