Scroll to the bottom to view and make comments
An alleged gang member and convicted drug dealer was sentenced today 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.”
Copyright © 2012 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.
Comment Advisement We welcome your thoughts, but for the sake of all readers, please refrain from the use of obscenities, personal attacks or racial slurs. All comments are subject to our terms of service and may be removed. Repeat offenders may lose commenting privileges.