The defendant in a burglary that resulted in the murder of a soldier has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life with parole plus 40 years.
Defendant Kyle D. Perry entered into the agreement before Liberty County Superior Court Judge Paul Rose. Perry took the plea instead of facing a jury trial that was set to begin Tuesday.
Nearly three years ago, Perry broke into a condominium in the 1100 block of Pineland Avenue in Hinesville. Homeowner Jeremias Ortiz and his wife, identified in the original police reports as Raelani Quintanilla, were in the upstairs bedroom when they heard a noise downstairs shortly before midnight.
According to the report filed by Hinesville police Officer Tika Haley, Lt. Thomas Ovitt and Officer Tony Durham in June 2013, Jeremias Ortiz grabbed his handgun and started going downstairs, announcing he had a gun, and commanded the intruder leave.
According to the report, Quintanilla said she heard the intruder yell back saying he also had a gun. Quintanilla told the officers that she heard four of five shots. She went downstairs to check on her husband and found him on the kitchen floor and a person wearing a white mask and black hoodie standing in the kitchen.
When the intruder fired a round in her direction, she told officers, she dropped to the floor and crawled to the front door then ran for help.
Ortiz was temporarily placed on life support but later died at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah.
The intruder was wounded in the gunfire exchange, leaving a trail of blood the officers tracked using the K-9 unit. The search was unsuccessful; however, Perry was later arrested after he checked into Liberty Regional Medical Center suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
He was charged with two counts of murder, two counts of aggravated assault, burglary, theft by receiving stolen property, possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a crime and possession of marijuana.
Under the plea, one count of murder was dropped and one count of aggravated assault was merged with the other murder charge.