Man Gets 25 Years to Life For Killing Ex-Girlfriend

By: Ja'Mein Beale - Mon, 16 Apr 2012 15:36:57 -0800

OAKLAND (BCN)--An alleged gang member and convicted drug dealer has been sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison for his second-degree murder  conviction for fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend in Oakland shortly after she celebrated her 26th birthday last summer.
     
Cecil Sagapolu, 30, told Oakland police that Giselle Ortiz shot  herself in the head at an apartment complex in the 800 block of 31st Street  at abut 3 a.m. on July 31, a few hours after the two of them and others had celebrated her birthday the night of July 30.
     
But prosecutor Jill Nerone said jurors rejected Sagapolu's story  and believed her argument that he killed Ortiz by placing a gun to her head  and pulling the trigger.
     
Nerone said jurors only convicted Sagapolu of second-degree murder  rather than first-degree murder because they weren't sure if Sagapolu  deliberately squeezed the trigger or if the gun went off by accident.
     
Nerone said Sagapolu had been abusive to Ortiz in the past, and  that she believes they had an argument just before the killing because Ortiz  had said something Sagapolu didn't like. She said Sagapolu and Ortiz had an  on-again, off-again relationship.
     
Nerone said the evidence in the trial showed that Sagapolu always  carried a gun.
     
Sagapolu's attorney, Theodore Berry, said there was no specific  evidence that Ortiz had ever threatened to kill herself but that he believes  she committed suicide because she had been "desperate and depressed."
     
Berry said he doesn't think the evidence in the case proves that  Sagapolu killed Ortiz because his DNA wasn't on the gun that was used in her  death and his client didn't have any gunshot residue on him.
     
Sagapolu, an alleged member of a Hayward gang who has prior  convictions for selling drugs, said before he was sentenced by Alameda County  Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson today that he didn't kill Ortiz and he  believes he was convicted because of his background, not because of the  evidence in the case.
     
According to Nerone, Sagapolu turned toward about 20 of Ortiz's  family members and friends who were in court today and said he understands  their grief, but that the family members weren't sympathetic.
     
Ortiz is survived by two young children. Sagapolu is not their  father.
     
Nerone said Ortiz's family is "very happy" that Sagapolu received  the maximum sentence possible based on the second-degree murder conviction.  She described Ortiz's death as "a very vicious killing."
 
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