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Group used wooden blocks, pole to beat man to death in Magna, police say

Unified police say a Magna man was beaten to death by a group of people Monday afternoon in a grocery store parking lot. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)



MAGNA — Police say a group of people used wooden blocks and a pole to beat a man to death in the parking lot of a Smith's grocery store in Magna on Monday.

The man, identified as Fred Valdamar Ortiz, 41, of Magna, died about 2:30 p.m. in a hospital after the beating took place near 3600 South and 8400 West on Monday.

The situation started about 1:30 p.m. when two people, Xandre Hill and a woman identified only as Hannah, went to a dog breeder's home because they were interested in a puppy. In the process, they met a woman who was pregnant with Ortiz's child, according to a police booking affidavit.

Hannah and Hill were then told that Ortiz "had beat (the woman) two days ago and they saw she has a black eye," the affidavit states.

While they were still at the breeder's, they saw Ortiz go past on a nonmotorized scooter. Hannah and Hill stayed behind while Osyeanna Martinez and two other unidentified people, including a 13-year-old, went after Ortiz, according to the affidavit. Hannah and Hill got into Hill's car shortly after and allegedly followed the group to the Smith's at 8055 W. 3500 South.

Hannah later told police that when she and Hill arrived at Smith's, she saw Martinez hit Ortiz with her car, a Volkswagen Bug, the affidavit states. Ortiz started running from Smith's after he got hit, with Hill, Martinez, and another person identified only by the initials E. E. chasing him, according to police. The three then allegedly started beating Ortiz.

Hannah told police she saw E. E. hitting Ortiz with a pole while he was down on the ground, according to the affidavit. She said she told the dog breeder, who was also apparently nearby, to make the group stop beating Ortiz, but claimed the dog breeder did not.

Investigators obtained surveillance video from a nearby restaurant that shows Martinez throwing two boards at Ortiz's back and head, police affidavits state. The video also allegedly shows Martinez grabbing, punching and kicking Ortiz.

Hill is also visible in the video, as well as E.E., who is carrying a long pole, and both begin to beat Ortiz, the affidavit says. Afterward, police say Hill, Martinez and E.E. are seen in the footage walking back from where Ortiz was assaulted. E.E. was still holding the pole and Martinez was riding a scooter, along with Hill, who "was looking at his right hand and appeared to wipe it on the front of his shirt," according to the affidavit.

Hill later admitted to investigators that he tackled and punched Ortiz, the affidavit filed in 3rd District Court says. Police say he also told them he saw E.E. beating Ortiz but didn't know if E.E. used the pipe or his fists. Martinez also allegedly admitted to chasing Ortiz down and grabbing him, as well as throwing a block of wood at him as he was running away.

A female identified only by the initials M.P., who was in the car with Martinez when they first went to find Ortiz, later told investigators that Ortiz is her stepfather, the affidavit says. M.P. also said the pregnant woman is her mother, and Ortiz had beat the woman two days ago.

"They have been scared to report it because (Ortiz) is on parole and his probation officer will not do anything to lock him up," police wrote in the affidavit.

M.P. said she was the first one to get out of Martinez's car to confront Ortiz at the Smith's. She got out and tried to pepper spray Ortiz, but the wind blew the spray back into her face, the affidavit says. She ran into the Smith's to wash the pepper spray off of her face and did not see the rest of the confrontation, she told police.

Multiple adults were taken into custody in connection with the killing, according to Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler, but she didn't say exactly how many. All are adults in age range from 18 to early 20s. Everyone involved in the incident knew each other and it is not considered a random act, Cutler said.

Hill, 18, and Martinez, 19, were booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Monday evening for investigation of murder. Hannah, M.P. and E.E. are also identified as suspects in the reports, but no other arrests had been made in the case as of midday Tuesday, according to Cutler. Police are still trying to locate one person who was involved in the beating to arrest them, she added, but she did not identify that person.

Contributing: Ashley Fredde

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