Setting a date for prelim put off again for man accused of strangulation murder

Crime scene tape marks the perimeter of a murder investigation in Valencia on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal

A man accused of strangling his boyfriend in Valencia was scheduled to set a date for his preliminary hearing next month, almost a year after his arrest.

Christian Alexander Ortiz, 22, charged with murder in the death of Brayan Rodriguez, appeared Monday in San Fernando Superior Court to set a date for a prelim, but was told that date would be set next month.

Monday’s court visit marks the fourth time in eight months that Ortiz has appeared in court to set a date for a prelim, only to see the date pushed back.

Ortiz is now expected to appear in court Sept. 4 to set a date for the hearing.

During a preliminary hearing, prosecutors will present evidence in the case, and the defense can respond; the judge can then decide if the case should go to trial.

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, 2017.

Rodriguez’s body was found inside a closet in a house on the 23600 block of Via Valer, near Valencia Glen Park, sometime before 4 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2017.

Rodriguez, 20, identified by prosecutors as the accused man’s boyfriend, was reported missing Sept. 22, 2017, prompting several searches to find him throughout that weekend.

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