Judge dismisses decades-old murder case against 75-year-old man

Case dismissed due to missing necessary, material witness

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County judge on Monday dismissed a murder case against a man indicted in 1963 on a charge of murder with malice, citing a missing necessary and material witness.

Pete Ortiz, 75, was indicted by a grand jury in 1963 in connection with the murder of 26-year-old Joe Ovalle, who was killed two days before Christmas in 1962.

RELATED: Man, 75, surrenders in 1962 murder case 

Ortiz spent decades in hiding before he turned himself in in September of 2017. Last year, Ortiz told District Court Judge Frank Castro, the same judge who dismissed the case Monday, that he had been working in Wisconsin.

Ortiz's attorney, John Kuntz, said in 2017 that Ortiz was tired of having the arrest warrant haunting him and was weary of living under an assumed name.

Ovalle was a witness in a drug case and his murder was suspected to be a hit.

Ortiz's lawyer said his client was with Frank Juarez, who was convicted and sentenced to prison, but did not participate in the murder.

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