A confession, here: I'm only writing about Charles Ortley by accident.
There was an article in MPR News which made mention of somebody ("John Doe") who had been arrested on March 13 who may be a suspect in the Demetrius Harper and Erick Felton murder at a Northside "after hours" club. This little scrap of info (an arrest on March 13) sent me running to the Hennepin County Jail roster to see if I could scavenge the name of the suspect, and BLOW THAT INFO UP.
I'm a blogger. This is what I do, at least sometimes. Bigger media fish leave scraps of info laying around (names and addresses and dates, mostly) and, opportunistically, I see if I can follow the trail of bread crumbs to an interesting story. In this case, when I looked at the jail roster I found only one person arrested on March 13 with anything resembling a murder charge.
The more I looked at the info, the more I thought "This doesn't look EXACTLY like the Harper/Felton murder." But, then again, I also couldn't rule out a connection because it was the only March 13 arrest with any mention of a murder, after all.
Finally, I decided to just go with what I had and make sure I only wrote the facts I could confirm and NOT mention the Harper/Felton murder. (Click here for previous story) I figured even if it turned out to be the wrong murder, it was still a MURDER or an ATTEMPTED murder. (The jail roster has an annoying tendency to muddle the distinction between the two in favor of an understandable economy of words)
But now I've obtained copies of criminal complaints and (oh, my goodness) an actual statement issued for this blog by the Hennepin County Prosecuting Attorney's office.
Turns out Charles Ortley is NOT IN ANY WAY INVOLVED in the Harper/Felton shooting. (Well, good thing I never said he was!) In retrospect, data about the suspect arrested on March 13 must have been purged from the system before I went looking for it. Damn. I'm trying to obtain the name by other means.
But back to Charles Ortley.
There are fascinating allegations (not proven, and in fact the case was dismissed) about Ortley's supposed involvement in another murder in South Minneapolis on New Year's Day...
As discussed in the previous story, Ortley is going to prison for 78 months with credit for 428 days served. But murder charges were dismissed in the same proceeding. Here is what the Hennepin County Prosecutor's Office told me about that in a written statement:
JNS Blog says: Fair enough. I have no critique. But the dismissed murder charges are pretty interesting. Click here for the criminal complaint. The charges (which were not proven, and I'm sort of getting sick of saying that over and over) stemmed from a double shooting in Apartment #1 at 2621 2nd Ave. S.
Police were summoned there on New Years Day, 2012, on a report of a shooting. Upon entering, blood was everywhere and police found two shooting victims; a man (J.E.) and a woman (D.B.) The man had been shot in the chest. The woman had been shot in the leg.
"Do you know who shot you, sir?" police asked, or words to that effect.
"Native Mob," the man answered.
Witnesses said there had been a party at the apartment and known members of Native Mob were present at the party. When residents tried to kick out the gang members, there was a fight. The gang members returned a few minutes later, kicked in the door, and fired into the apartment. Witnesses identified the gang members as Charles Ortley, Lance Maurice Hanks, and a juvenile male whose initials are J.H. just like this blogger.
The criminal complaint says the male victim, J.E., lost some of his intestines in the incident. The woman has a rod in her leg. This is what comes of throwing parties where the guest list potentially expands to gang members.
Ortley's criminal record was already discussed in the previous blog post, but the prosecutor's office was kind enough to kick another criminal complaint my way, click here. This was the time when (allegedly) he was going the wrong way down a one-way street, then fled from police through a red light, (allegedly) and ran from police. A civilian bystander stopped Ortley. Ortley reportedly told police he was "freaking out" because he was in possession of crack cocaine. (Which he was, allegedly, in his pocket) Along the path of Ortley's flight, police found a pistol lying between two garbage cans. Ortley was apparently not charged in association with the pistol. This guy appears to have a lucky streak when it comes to avoiding his full and just measure of legal prosecution.
But, in my opinion, prosecutors did the best they could in this case and 78 months is a long, long time.
Now, if only I could obtain the name of a suspect in that OTHER shooting incident...