Meet the Exonerees

Luis Ortiz

State: Illinois
Date of Birth:
Incident Date: 09/07/1997
Age at Arrest: 19
Conviction Date: 2001
Age When Exonerated: 24
Exonerated Date: 12/18/2002
Time Served: 3
Conviction: Murder
False Confession: Yes
Implicated by Another Youth: Yes

Case Details

Nineteen-year-old Luis Ortiz was charged with a gang-related murder in 1997. Five months after Sindulfo Miranda was found murdered in July 1997, a police informant came forward and implicated five men: Robert Gayol, Omar Aguirre, Edar Duarte Santos, Luis Ortiz and Ronnie Gamboa. Gamboa was let go, but after a lengthy police investigation, Aguirre falsely confessed, implicating the other three men. The four men went through trial. Aguirre was convicted in 1999 and sentenced to fifty-five years in prison; Santos remained in jail until 2002, when he pled guilty in return for a lesser sentence. Ortiz, too, was convicted and sentenced to life, but later falsely gave evidence against Gayol in return for a lesser sentence of 25 years. In 2002, the FBI discovered evidence that Miranda had actually been murdered by street gang members, and the four were released. Rob Warden of the Center for Wrongful Conviction was connected with the exoneration.