Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

Pasco man on trial in violent beating and robbery of girlfriend's father

NEW PORT RICHEY — The burglar broke in through an unlocked Florida room after midnight on August 9, 2011. From there, he opened a kitchen window and crawled through. He sneaked into a bedroom where Kenneth Staack, then 77, slept in a house in Holiday.

Then came the blows. Staack thought it was a hammer.

"He took a metal yardstick, turned it flush and began hacking away at the victim," Assistant State Attorney Andrew Mallory said in court Thursday.

Mallory said Pedro Antonio Ortiz, 44, was the culprit. Ortiz, in a dark blue shirt and slacks, was on trial for home invasion robbery with a weapon, aggravated battery on an elderly person and grand theft auto.

"Where's your wallet?" Mallory said Ortiz asked. The beaten man tried to point but got more hits to the head. After the robber left, Staack crawled on the floor to the closet in his room.

"I was halfway in and halfway out," Staack, now 80, said during testimony. "I sat there and waited until I didn't hear no noise."

Staack then stumbled to a neighbor's house, he said. The neighbor thought Staack was someone else — what with all the blood. He'd need 91 stitches, and he had a stroke.

The missing items included Staacks' blue Saturn Ion.

Deputies went to notify Staacks' daughter of the crime, and found the car they were looking for in the back yard. Turns out, Ortiz was dating Staacks' daughter. The men knew each other — Staacks would sometimes hire Ortiz for odd jobs.

Deputies found bloody clothes in the house, and blood-splattered Nike shoes, both of which made an appearance in court. They also found a footprint matching Ortiz's shoes, in Staacks' house. Ortiz initially told deputies he wasn't involved, then blamed a friend. When the friend came up clean, Ortiz was arrested.

In jail, Staacks' daughter, Maite Cypret, asked Ortiz why he did it. He said he had good intentions because she had asked him to go "make some money."

I asked you to make some money not rob somebody or beat my dad over the head, Mallory said the daughter told Ortiz.

In court, prosecutors played audio of jail conversations between Ortiz and Cypret.

"How did you break in," Cypret asked.

"Through the back door," Ortiz said.

"What gave you the urge to hit my dad?" she asked.

"I don't know Mami," he said.

Later, he told her he loved her.

"No you don't," she said.

The trial is expected to go to a jury today.

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