Arrested back in late May, the 24-year-old Ortiz and 18-year old co-defendant Armando Miguel Navarro appeared in court in downtown Los Angeles this morning on the felony charges. With the duo being held in custody by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, the short hearing at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center saw the court set a preliminary hearing for September 22.
Ortiz has plead not guilty to the charges.
If found guilty on the “attempted willful, deliberate, and premeditated attempted murder” charges, Ortiz is looking at 25 years to life in state prison under the California Penal Code. According to the complaint filed by prosecutors on May 27, the actor also faces a decade more in additional sentences.
Alleged to committed the offense against one Brian Duke on May 24 “for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in association with a criminal street gang with the specific intent to promote, further and assist in criminal conduct by gang members,” the McFarland, USA star is being held on $1.1 million bail in a DTLA facility. Navarro, who prosecutors say fired the shots at Duke, is being held on a bail of just over $2 million. With sentencing requirements even harsher than those applicable to Ortiz, Navarro is also looking at life in a cell if found guilty.
Having set up a GoFundMe effort to raise money for his bond, Ortiz’s family say that the actor is “in jail fighting for his case that he is innocent on.” As of this afternoon, the effort has raised just $780 of its desired $100,000 goal.
Representatives for Ortiz did not respond to requests for comment about the American Crime actor’s situation and circumstance.