10 convicted for shooting Red Sox legend David Ortiz – but alleged mastermind free

A court in the Dominican Republic on Monday convicted 10 of 13 people accused of attempting to murder Red Sox legend David “Big Papi” Ortiz in Santo Domingo in June 2019.

Victor Hugo Gomez Vasquez, the alleged mastermind behind the mistaken identity shooting, along with two other defendants, were acquitted due to insufficient evidence.

Gomez Vasquez covered his eyes and cried after hearing the verdict on Monday night, Dominican newspaper Diario Libre reported.

Ortiz, 47, was shot in the back at the Dial Bar and Lounge in his native country on June 9, 2019, and underwent three surgeries — two in Boston and one on the day of the shooting in the Dominican Republic.

Rolfi Ferreras Cruz, 26, and Eddy Vladimir Feliz Garcia, 27, were each sentenced to 30 years in prison, the longest sentences among the defendants, “for their direct participation in the assassination attempt”, said the attorney general’s office. Ferreras Cruz was accused of shooting Ortiz while riding a motorcycle driven by Feliz Garcia.

In 2019, Dominican authorities said Gomez Vasquez, an associate of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel, hired a gang of killers to eliminate his cousin, Sixto David Fernandez, who was sharing a table at the bar with Ortiz when he was shot. Authorities said the shooter mistook Fernandez for Ortiz.

David Ortiz attends the 2021 Maestro Cares Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on December 7, 2021 in New York City.
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Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota, 28, was sentenced to 20 years. According to the attorney general, Rodriguez Mota is “the person who paid those who committed the act” against Ortiz.

Oliver Moises Mirabal, 28, and Eduardo Ciprian Lebron, 24, were sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Gabriel Alexander Perez Vizcaino, 31, and Joel Rodriguez de la Cruz, 28, were sentenced to nine and six years respectively.

Franklin Junior Meran, 26, Junior Cesar La Hoz Vargas, 28, and Porfirio Ayendi Dechamps Vasquez, 29, were each sentenced to five years in prison.

The 10 convicted men must pay 50 million pesos in compensation for damages, in addition to serving their respective sentences, the attorney general’s office said.

Dominican authorities reportedly said the full sentence would be read on February 8, 2023.

Inductee David Ortiz delivers his speech during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Clark Sports Center on July 24, 2022 in Cooperstown, New York.
Inductee David Ortiz delivers his speech during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Clark Sports Center on July 24, 2022 in Cooperstown, New York.
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Ortiz, a 10-time All-Star, led the Red Sox to three World Series championships, including in 2013 when he was named MVP. He retired after the 2016 season with 541 career home runs, and the Red Sox retired his No. 34 uniform in June 2017.

Ortiz, who is currently an analyst for PKB Sports, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in July 2022.

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