Valencia man pleads not guilty to murder

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies canvass the area surrounding a murder scene in Valencia on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal
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A Valencia man accused of strangling Brayan “Brian” Jose Rodriguez to death in September pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the charge of murder.

Christian Ortiz, 21, appeared Tuesday in San Fernando Superior Court where he entered a plea of not guilty, Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office told The Signal Tuesday.

Ortiz who remains in custody in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility with bail set at $2 million, was arrested on suspicion of murder by deputies of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station about 3 a.m. on Sept. 25.

He is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 16 to set a day for a preliminary hearing.

Detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau began probing the circumstances surrounding Rodriguez’s death which occurred shortly before 4 p.m. Sept. 24 inside a closet of a house on the 23600 block of Via Valer, by Valencia Glen Park.

Based on interviews and evidence at the location, it was determined that the unidentified victim died at the hands of another and the suspect was responsible for his death, according to a LASD news release issued Sunday.

Ortiz, who remains in custody with bail set at $1 million, was arrested about 3 a.m. Monday on suspicion of murder.

He is scheduled to appear Friday in San Fernando Superior Court.

Rodriguez, 20, identified by prosecutors as the accused man’s boyfriend, was reported missing on Sept. 22, prompting searches to find him throughout that weekend.

He was set to check in at the University of California San Diego on Saturday, but failed to do so.

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