Mesa police arrest man accused of fatally stabbing a victim in his apartment

Feb 21, 2024, 8:00 PM | Updated: 8:02 pm

Mesa homicide suspect arrested in connection to Feb. 4 murder...

Mario Ortiz Jr., pictured above, is 21 years old, police said. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office photo)

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office photo)

PHOENIX – The Mesa Police Department arrested a man accused of killing a victim in early February, officials said on Wednesday.

Mesa police said Mario Ortiz Jr., 21, killed Kenneth Gordon, 29.

The homicide took place on Feb. 4 in an apartment building near Main Street and Power Road in Mesa, police said.

How did police find the Mesa homicide suspect?

Officials responded to the scene for a welfare check and found Gordon’s body at around 8:30 a.m. The apartment was open.

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner discovered two puncture wounds on Gordon’s right thigh and ruled his death a homicide, according to Mesa police.

Mesa detectives identified Ortiz as a person of interest, police said.

Mesa homicide suspect already in custody, police said

During their investigation, they found out the Phoenix Police Department had detained Ortiz on a felony parole warrant, Mesa police said. They then arranged to interview him in Mesa.

Ortiz admitted to being with Gordon at the time of his death but claimed he didn’t stab him, according to court documents related to his arrest.

He is facing one count of second-degree murder, one count of armed robbery, one count of first-degree burglary and a felony parole warrant.

Ortiz is currently in the custody of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. His bond is set at $100,000.

What led up to the Mesa murder?

Ortiz told police he met Gordon at a bus stop, according to court documents.

Gordon allegedly asked Ortiz for illegal drugs, after which they walked to a nearby apartment to buy and use drugs. After that, Gordon returned to his apartment, court documents said.

Ortiz told police he later knocked on Gordon’s door so they could hang out and was let in, court documents said.

Trouble started when Ortiz tried to use Gordon’s phone, court documents said.

Gordon allegedly “forcefully grabbed the phone away” and “freaked out.”

Ortiz told police Gordon “came at him” with no weapons and Ortiz pushed him away, court documents said.

Ortiz allegedly told police he didn’t have a knife and didn’t know how Gordon was stabbed.

However, he admitted to stealing Gordon’s phone and leaving the apartment after he started bleeding, court documents said.

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Mesa police arrest man accused of fatally stabbing a victim in his apartment