The Washington Post

Silver Spring woman sentenced to eight years in 2007 fatal stabbign of woman

A Silver Spring woman Friday was sentenced to eight years in prison for the 2007 fatal stabbing of a District woman in her Kalorama Triangle apartment.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Ronna L. Beck sentenced Blanca Ortiz in connection with the fatal stabbing of Ortiz’s friend, Gabriela Lopez, 29.

Ortiz, 47, who is originally from Argentina, was initially charged with first-degree murder in Lopez’s death. However, on the day her case was scheduled to go to trial in July, Ortiz pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter as part of an Alford deal in which Ortiz not did admit guilt, but acknowledged prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her.

Lopez, 29, who worked as a paralegal, was found dead in her efficiency’s bathtub on Jan. 28, 2007, stabbed more than 15 times, and with the back of her head showing signs of trauma. Authorities believed the women’s friendship had grown intimate and Ortiz had flown into a jealous rage. Ortiz had denied the women were lovers.

Prosecutors had a security video that shows Ortiz entering and leaving Lopez’s Northwest Washington apartment about the time medical examiners say Lopez was killed. But prosecutors did not have any witnesses, DNA linking Lopez to the crime, or the murder weapon.

Beck sentenced Ortiz to the maximum according to the plea deal with prosecutors.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.


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