Man who killed a family with a pickaxe sentenced to 25 years in prison

New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M (KRQE) – It wasn’t the sentence prosecutors or the victims’ family was hoping for, but Nicholas Ortiz will be going to prison for 25 years and finally, this case is over.

The victims’ family wanted Ortiz to be sentenced as an adult with no possibility of parole, and prosecutors were asking that he be put away for nearly 75 years, but a judge didn’t seem to agree with that sentence.

It was a horrific, bloody scene inside the Ortiz family home in El Rancho back in 2011. Cherie Ortiz-Rios found her dad, Lloyd; mom, Dixie; and brother, Steven; murdered years ago. Police confirmed they’d all been killed with a pickaxe in the middle of the night.

Years went by with no one charged until 2015. Nicholas Ortiz, who has no relation, was arrested. He was only 16 at the time of the murders.

“This family who’s dealt with this case for eight years now, one hung jury and then a second trial, finally had their chance to address not only the court, but the defendant,” District Attorney Marco Serna said.

But it wasn’t everything they had hoped. DA Marco Serna had asked Judge Francis Matthew to sentence Ortiz to 72 years in prison, but the judge gave him much less.

“I’m clearly disappointed with the judge’s decision to only sentence him to 25 years, but I am happy that he categorized it as a serious violent offense,” Serna said.

KRQE News 13 reached out to the victims’ daughter about her thoughts on the sentencing, but have not heard back.

Ortiz has been in custody since he was arrested in 2015 and will get credit for time served. He will be required to serve 85% of his sentence. Ortiz will be eligible for parole in late 2036 or early 2037.

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