News Releases

November 6, 2019: Man Sentenced for Fatally Stabbing Bus Passenger in East Los Angeles

Paul Eakins, Public Information Officer

A 29-year-old Montebello man was sentenced today to 26 years to life in state prison for fatally stabbing a passenger on a bus in East Los Angeles last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

A jury convicted Manuel Ortiz Jr. on Sept. 9 of one count of first-degree murder and found true an allegation that he used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife.

Deputy District Attorneys Christina Lutz and Marlene Martinez prosecuted case BA467237.

On April 9, 2018, Ortiz boarded a bus at Montebello and Whittier boulevards.

After riding the bus for several blocks to Whittier Boulevard and Gerhart Avenue, the defendant stabbed 22-year-old Austin Zavala multiple times in the neck and head in an apparently random attack, according to court testimony.

Ortiz exited the bus and fled but was later arrested. The victim, a college student from Whittier, was taken to a local hospital and died on June 10, 2018.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.