Cops: Sussex Ave. Resident Slashed Man's Throat
Affidavit says man admitted attack, then went back on his story.
A Sussex Avenue resident slashed a man's throat and told officers "I wanted to kill the guy," according to Morristown Police.
Oscar Ortiz, 35, of Sussex Avenue, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon after, police say, he admitted to slashing a man's throat in the area of Sussex Avenue and Henry Street early Aug. 22, police said.
Police received a call just before 3 a.m. Monday that a person needed medical attention after being badly wounded, according to an affidavit signed by Sgt. Stuart Greer. Morristown police found a man on a home's porch, bleeding profusely from his neck. Two witnesses were attempting to treat the victim's wound when police arrived.
A short time later, Officer Richard Riley was driving on Sussex Avenue toward Speedwell Avenue when Ortiz ran out of a driveway on Sussex Avenue waving his arms, according to the affidavit. The officer stopped his patrol car, it states.
“I did it. I’m feeling guilty, I cut the man’s throat," Ortiz said, according to the affidavit.
Riley asked the man to clarify what he had just said, the affidavit states. Ortiz pointed up Sussex Avenue and told him “I’m a good guy, I try to help you, I cut the man’s neck," according to the affidavit.
Riley transported Ortiz about a block back to the area of the incident, according to the affidavit. When asked where he had put the knife, Ortiz responded, “I put it in the garbage can, it states.
“I did it, I did it, I wanted to kill the guy," the affidavit quotes Ortiz saying. "How long am I going to get for this? 10 years?”
Ortiz was brought into custody and transported to the Morristown Police Station for processing. According to the affidavit, while in holding, Ortiz said, “I killed that guy, did I?”
Officer Riley told Ortiz that he did not know the condition of the victim, the affidavit states. It quotes Ortiz responding, “Someone can go to jail for trying to kill someone, yes?”
But Ortiz didn't stick with the confession, police said.
During his interview at the Morristown Police headquarters, Ortiz said he went to a bar on Speedwell Avenue where he met a homeless person he knows only as “John,” according to the affidavit.
Ortiz said “John” introduced him to another man—the one Ortiz would allegedly later attack—according to the affidavit. Ortiz said the man wanted to purchase a 12-pack of beer but didn’t have any money, so Ortiz agreed to purchase the beer, according to the affidavit.
Ortiz said that he paid for the beer and then exited the bar to smoke a cigarette on the sidewalk, according to the affidavit. He told police the man and “John” left the bar and got into a taxi, the affidavit states. But Ortiz couldn't describe the taxi beyond saying it was a grey car, and might have been operated by a "gay guy," according to the affidavit. It says he couldn't explain that statement.
Ortiz reportedly said he then headed back to Sussex Avenue.
As he arrived at the intersection of Speedwell Avenue and Sussex Avenue, he said, he saw “John” running south on Speedwell Avenue, according to the affidavit. Ortiz said “John” asked him to help him, saying he'd just stabbed someone, according to the affidavit.
Ortiz reportedly told police “John” said he had placed a knife in the garbage can at a Sussex Avenue residence, and then ran away.
Ortiz told police his earlier confession was made to cover for "John," police said.
But even as he shifted blame to "John," he made statements suggesting he committed the crime himself, according to the affidavit.
"He continued to say that he was guilty and that he “did it” with respect to the injuries to the victim, however he refused to acknowledge that he had directly assaulted the victim," the affidavit states.
Victim's Account: It Was Just Ortiz
At about noon on Monday, the victim was released from the Emergency Department at Morristown Medical Center. He was transported to Morristown Police headquarters, where he agreed to provide a statement to investigators, according to the affidavit.
The victim said he left work at the Madison Hotel in Morris Township at about 11:40 p.m. on Sunday, and went to Danny's Pub on Speedwell Avenue in Morristown, according to the affidavit. He told officers that after leaving Danny’s Pub, he walked north on Speedwell Avenue with a friend, according to the affidavit.
The victim said that at Flagler Street, he separated from his friend and continued to walk by himself toward his residence on Speedwell Avenue, the affidavit states.
As he turned from Sussex Avenue onto Henry Street, he came into contact with a Spanish-speaking male, later identified as Ortiz, with whom he was not familiar, according to the affidavit. He told police that Ortiz said "hello" and then asked where he was from, at which time he responded that he was from Guatemala, the affidavit states.
Ortiz told the victim he “was made,” in Spanish, and produced a knife, according to the affidavit. The victim said that Ortiz then grabbed his head and pushed it up before slashing his throat from side-to-side, according to the affidavit.
Nothing more was said and Ortiz made no attempt to take anything from him, the victim reportedly told police.
At about 3 p.m. on Monday, Ortiz was interviewed again by police. During the course of this second interview, Ortiz recanted his previous statement and admitted that he had in fact cut the victim on the throat with a box-cutter type knife, according to the affidavit.
Ortiz said he encountered the victim in the area of Sussex Avenue and Henry Street and, following a brief conversation in Spanish, he became upset and cut the victim on the throat, according to the affidavit.
Ortiz then physically demonstrated how he approached the victim and pulled the knife across the area of his throat, police said.
Ortiz said that following the slashing, he placed the knife handle into a garbage can behind his residence on Sussex Avenue, according to the affidavit.
Bail was set at $100,000, and Ortiz is currently being held at the Morris County Correctional Facility.