Man pleads not guilty to murder in friend’s death at Mira Mesa home

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Officers found a man covered in blood and acting strangely near the scene of an apparent homicide in Mira Mesa Friday.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A man who allegedly killed his friend at the victim’s Mira Mesa home pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a murder charge.

Juan Luis Ortega, 39, is accused in last Friday’s slaying of 47-year-old Robert Lizotte at his Burlington Way home.

Police said a 911 call came in just after 7 a.m. regarding a man who was “covered in blood (and) acting erratically” in the 7800 block of Burlington Way. Officers said they found Ortega in front of “a residence he was associated with” and detained him, then found Lizotte’s body inside the home.

The criminal complaint filed against Ortega alleges that a knife was used in the killing.

According to San Diego police Lt. Matt Dobbs, the two men were friends and Ortega had been staying at Lizotte’s home. A motive for the killing has not been disclosed.

Ortega remains in custody without bail, pending a bail review hearing set for next week.

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