Eladia Jacobo Ortiz, 36, of 895 S. National Road, was sentenced in Bartholomew Superior Court 1 to nine years in prison after she pleaded guilty to aiding, inducing or causing aggravated battery as a Level 3 felony.
But Judge James Worton said only five years will be executed and four will be served on a Community Corrections program.
Ortiz and three others were arrested in connection with the death of 37-year-old Leobardo Rodriguez Flores, who was shot and killed Feb. 26, 2020 in the parking lot of his employer, Tool Dynamics, on South Marr Road.
Ortiz entered a plea bargain agreement on Aug. 4, agreeing to plead guilty to the aggravated battery charge in exchange for Bartholomew County Prosecutor Lindsey Holden-Kay dropping a charge of aiding, inducing or causing murder as a Level 1 felony in Flores’ death.
Ortiz will receive credit for the three years, eight months and 18 days she spent in the Bartholomew County Jail, according to the sentencing.
However, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has ordered an immigration hold to be placed on Ortiz, Worton said during Wednesday’s hearing. Worton said he had no idea what ICE officials are planning at this time. Ortiz is originally from Temixco, the fourth largest city in the Mexican state of Morelos, according to jail records.
The events that led to the murder began when Columbus resident Abraham Jimenez Cesareo got jealous after hearing a recording that led him to believe Flores was dating his former girlfriend, according to court records. Cesareo’s voice can be heard in a recording obtained by investigators offering an unidentified man $2,000 to break Flores’ bones, but the man refused Cesareo’s offer, according to a probable cause affidavit.
It was Ortiz who connected Cesareo with Eliel Avelar, a Chicago-area resident who allegedly has ties to organized crime, according to earlier testimony.
“It was never her intention to cause this man’s death,” public defender Jane Ann Noblitt said during the sentencing hearing.
But the victim’s uncle, Ernesto Rodriguez, said Ortiz is responsible for bringing a violent career criminal to Columbus. He also accused Ortiz of changing accounts she gave police a number of times.
“I don’t have anything against this lady,” Rodriguez said after taking the witness stand. “But she must be held accountable for her actions.”
Following the hearing, Rodriguez told The Republic his nephew did not have a romantic relationship with Cesareo’s former girlfriend.
“It may have been heading there,” the victim’s uncle and co-worker said. “But they were not dating.”
According to Rodriguez, Flores knew she had been physically abused repeatedly by Cesareo and was staying close to the woman to protect her.
In early September, Cesareo was sentenced to 40 years in prison, while Eliel Avelar was ordered a month later to serve 55 years in prison.
All charges against the man who served as Avelar’s driver in Columbus, Esam Mohammad Abujouedeh, were dropped in November. Although he had been charged with battery and obstruction of justice, Worton said only that it was in the best interest of justice that the charges be dismissed.