Woman gets 15 years for fatal stabbing
A Gresham woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison after she admitted in court to killing an unruly party guest with a butcher knife at a child's birthday party in Gresham.
Ariana Marlene Cortez, 20, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and attempted first-degree assault after prosecutors agreed to drop a more serious charge of murder for the October 2016 stabbing of 19-year-old Otoniel Hernandez-Duarte.
Judge Kelly Skye of the Multnomah County Circuit Court approved the plea bargain on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at the downtown Portland courthouse.
Hernandez-Duarte — Tony to his friends — was an invited guest at the birthday party for his girlfriend Wendy Chino-Medina's 2-year-old daughter.
But as the afterparty dragged on to 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9, Cortez asked him to leave. She said he started "going crazy" with behavior that involved tossing beer cans, popping party balloons, licking a steak knife and tearing down other decorations, according to a probable cause affidavit from Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Hernandez-Duarte left but returned sometime later to the front step of the duplex at 1215 N.E. 183rd Avenue. He found the front door locked. Neighbor Eugene Norton told investigators he saw Hernandez-Duarte punch through the window with his fist."F—- this s—-, no one gonna break my f—-ing window," Cortez yelled before rushing into the kitchen to grab a butcher knife, documents filed at Multnomah County Courthouse recount. Her friends said she appeared enraged, not scared, as she unlocked the front door and a security door.
After the stabbing, Hernandez-Duarte began to bang on a neighbor's door, court records note.
"Please help me," he said as the neighbor sat him down on a stool — then dropped dead to the floor. Police discovered a small steak knife under his body that he may have been carrying during the altercation.
Medical Examiner Karen Gunson found a 4-inch gouge that ran from Hernandez-Duarte's temple to neck, which the doctor believed was not fatal. She said another 5-inch-deep stab wound that punctured his left lung killed him.
It was raining hard as police arrived to find a "substantial amount" of blood on the doormat and the duplex empty of guests. Cortez's mother voluntarily dropped her off at the Gresham Police Department later that day.
Cortez told investigators she blacked out during the stabbing and admitted to tasing Hernandez-Duarte on the arm earlier in the night, though she said he didn't react.Booking deputies recorded that Cortez is an unemployed single mother living off Social Security disability checks and food stamps. She told staff at the downtown jail she dropped out of high school after 10th grade and suffers from bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
She has three previous arrests for shoplifting at Fred Meyer, Rite Aid and Kohl's, according to court records, but the cases ended with the charged lowered or dropped.
At a nighttime vigil outside the spot of his death in 2016, Hernandez-Duarte's two sisters said they were still in shock, according to a report by KOIN 6 News, The Outlook's media partner.
"He had a big heart," Alma Hernandez said. "He always cared about people, you know."
"We all loved him," said Alondra Guerrero. "He didn't deserve to die the way he did."
In Oregon, a murder charge provides for a lifetime sentence in prison with the chance of release after 25 years.