2nd parolee charged in 2019 kidnapping, murder in Rochester pleads not guilty

Updated: August 01, 2020 06:30 PM
Created: August 01, 2020 11:04 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Rochester man charged in the death of a man who went missing last July and whose car was found engulfed in flames in Florida, pleaded not guilty on Saturday. 


Rochester Police announced the arrest of David Gardner, 42, in connection with the death of Samuel Ortiz, 39, on Friday.  

Ortiz was reported missing on July 8, 2019. Authorities found his SUV engulfed in flames in Florida on July 9, 2019. Police later found his body in an empty home on Lake View Park.

On July 13, 2020, police arrested parolee Kimberly Jones and charged her with murder, kidnapping, robbery and possession of stolen property in connection to Ortiz's death.

Court papers say Ortiz had been "physically restrained and such a manner that caused" his death.

Police arrested Gardner Friday before he was released from Cape Vincent Correctional Facility in Jefferson County and re-paroled to Rochester. 

Gardner was convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of a man in 1997 and was on parole in 2019. In August 2019, he was taken into custody for parole absconding in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been in custody since.

He pleaded not guilty to charges second-degree murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property in connection to Ortiz's death.

Gardner is being held in the Monroe County Jail without bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 6.

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