SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The man accused of murdering one victim and kidnapping and buying another in his basement last summer plead guilty to murder and kidnapping on Monday.
The Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office says that Harold Ortiz, 45, plead guilty to a total of four counts, including: intentional murder, kidnapping, grand larceny, and criminal possession of stolen property.
The grand larceny and possession charges mean Ortiz stole and kept more than $3,000 worth of property from both victims.
Ortiz also agreed to a total sentence of 30 years to life in prison.
Schenectady Police say the case began when Ortiz’s brother Anthony Ortiz, told the police on September 2, 2015 that Harold Ortiz had told him he had hit his neighbor in the head with a shovel and buried him under boxes in his basement. Anthony Ortiz also reported a foul smell seemingly emanating from his brother’s house.
When police arrived at Anthony Ortiz’s house, they say they found Ralph Carson alive, but injured, buried under a pile of debris in the basement.
Officials say police also found the body of Valerie Washington, also covered in debris nearby.
Police say Washington and Carson lived in the same building as Harold Ortiz.
Sentencing for Harold Ortiz was adjourned to August 15.