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Enrique Ortiz admits he fatally shot refugee Hagos Mezgebo

Published On: Feb 12 2013 11:57:11 AM EST   Updated On: Feb 12 2013 01:14:46 PM EST
Hagos Mezgebo -- Allentown homicide scene

A man accused of killing an African refugee in Allentown over a year ago has admitted he did it.

Enrique Ortiz pleaded guilty Monday to the Third degree murder in connection with the shooting death of 22-year-old Hagos Mezgebo.

Police said Ortiz shot Mezgebo to death near the corner of Emmitt and Fountain streets in January of 2012.

Mezgebo was one of 76 refugees brought to the U.S. three years earlier by the Diocese of Allentown's Catholic Charities, apparently to get away from violence.

Officials said Mezgebo had spent two-and-a-half years in a refugee camp in Ethiopia before coming to the United States.


Ortiz, 25, also pleaded guilty to firearms offenses, possession of cocaine, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and making terroristic threats.

He was sentenced to 40 to 80 years in jail.