18-year-old Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter, Faces Six Years
An 18-year-old man who fatally stabbed a co-worker after a sex act and fled the scene without his pants or shoes pleaded guilty Oct. 29 to voluntary manslaughter.
A murder charge was dismissed against Joe Andrew Cortez and Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Ana Espana indicated she would limit the maximum sentence to six years in prison for the death of Rene Macias Pressa, 44.
Sentencing was set for Feb. 5, 2016. Cortez remains in jail without bail. His attorney said he would present some psychological information at sentencing.
Cortez pleaded guilty to manslaughter just before a preliminary hearing was to be held where more details about the crime would have come out.
Pressa worked with Cortez, a new employee, at a Chula Vista restaurant. Cortez spent the night at his Third Avenue apartment April 23 in Chula Vista. According to what Cortez told police, Pressa had oral sex with Cortez before Cortez repeatedly stabbed him.
Deputy District Attorney Victor Ou said Cortez grabbed a knife off Pressa’s dresser and stabbed him in the abdomen, the base at the back of his head, and twice in the chest.
Cortez left suddenly without his pants and shoes. He accidently cut his fingers and Chula Vista police officers discovered a bloody trail with bare footprints leaving Pressa’s apartment for about a mile.
Pressa’s body was found outside his apartment by his roommate, and police initially thought that Pressa may have been attacked somewhere else and walked home. However, Cortez’s wallet was found inside his pants in the apartment along with his shirt and shoes.
Surveillance camera footage showed Cortez leaving barefoot in his boxer shorts and a tank top. He walked all night to his parents’ home. Cortez surrendered to authorities April 30.