EBRSO arrests two suspects in Pride-Port Hudson homicide

Local News
Courtesy of EBRSo

UPDATE:

East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Detectives have arrested a second man in the murder of 33-year-old Whitney Durant of Alexandria, LA. Durant was found shot dead early this morning inside a residence on Pride-Port Hudson Road.

Detectives discovered that two men and Durant had been using drugs together yesterday evening when one man allegedly became paranoid before shooting and killing her.  

Steven Francisco Ortiz-Morales is charged with Second Degree Murder and Obstruction of Justice.

Zebbie Berthelot is charged with Second Degree Murder, Accessory After the Fact, Obstruction of Justice and Felon in Possession of a Firearm.

Detectives learned that Berthelot and Durant arrived together at his brother’s home earlier in the week. Yesterday evening when Berthelot, Durant and Ortiz-Morales were using drugs, Ortiz-Morales allegedly became highly paranoid. At some point Berthelot’s brother told him that he, his girlfriend and friend were not to return due to Ortiz-Morales allegedly “freaking out.” The homeowner left and later returned discovering only Durant shot dead and the two men gone.

EBRSO Homicide Detectives observed Ortiz-Morales and Berthelot on surveillance video carrying bleach inside the residence. Detectives also located bottles of bleach, a mop bucket and blood left inside the home near Durant’s body.

Ortiz-Morales was taken into custody by Zachary Police early this morning after receiving a suspicious person report. He was issued a summons for unrelated charges and released into EBRSO custody for questioning. He was found in possession of a .40 caliber handgun and wearing body armor. He told detectives he shot and killed Durant.

Detectives met with Berthelot this evening for questioning at the VCU. He admitted that he was present when Ortiz-Morales shot Durant and that he offered her no help. He also admitted to helping the shooter locate bleach for the cleanup.

Berthelot will be booked into parish prison on the above listed charges.

ORIGINAL:

East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Detectives have arrested a man in the murder of a woman found early this morning shot dead inside a residence on Pride-Port Hudson Road. Detectives responded to the residence this morning after the victim was located dead inside. Detectives are currently attempting to make death notification to her family.

Steven Francisco Ortiz-Morales of Pineville, LA is charged with Second Degree Murder and Obstruction of Justice.

When detectives arrived on scene, the distinct smell of bleach emanated from the room where the body was discovered. The investigation revealed the woman was shot with a .40 caliber gun. EBRSO Crime Scene Investigators located bottles of bleach near the victim’s body along with a mop bucket, wipe marks and blood.

Ortiz-Morales was taken into custody by Zachary Police this morning after they received a report of a suspicious person. He was issued a summons for unrelated charges and released into EBRSO custody for questioning. He was found in possession of a .40 caliber handgun and wearing body armor. He was brought to the VCU for questioning where he admitted to murdering the victim. Detectives also observed him on surveillance video from the residence at the time the victim was also present.

The suspect will be booked into EBR Parish Prison on the above listed charges. The investigation is ongoing. More information may be forthcoming.

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