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A life costs Eighteen Years

GARDEN CITY — A 41-year-old man was sentenced to 18 years in prison today for the 1991 death of a Garden City woman.

Juan Duarte-Lozano, of Jalisco, Mexico, was found guilty after entering a plea of no contest July 17 to one count of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Rebecca Ortiz, who was strangled and killed at her home. She was 23.

"We're not satisfied with the sentence, but it's better than nothing. There's been some justice served here today," said the victim's sister, Josie Marez of Centennial, Colo.

DNA evidence tested in the last few years placed Duarte-Lozano at the scene of the crime, County Attorney John Wheeler has said. The DNA technology was not available during the initial investigation.

Finney County Sheriff's deputies arrested Duarte-Lozano, in October 2008 on allegations of first-degree murder. He waived extradition before he was brought to Garden City from Georgia, where he was facing deportation.

During a mid-January preliminary hearing, Judge Quint ruled that Duarte-Lozano should be bound over for trial on the lesser charge of second-degree murder.

In February, Duarte-Lozano pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge and his trial was set for May. Public defender Kristi Cott, who represented Duarte-Lozano, asked for a continuance and the trial had been scheduled to start Aug. 14.

He has been in custody of Finney County for 309 days, which will be awarded as time served.

© Copyright McClatchy Regional News
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