Morenci man facing multiple charges after domestic violence incident

Photo Courtesy Meta: Peter Daniel Ortega, 29, has been charged with multiple charges regarding a domestic violence incident on May 13. His preliminary hearing in Clifton Justice Court is set for Aug. 22.

By Jon Johnson

MORENCI – A Morenci man is facing multiple charges after a night out drinking ended with a domestic violence incident.

Peter Daniel Ortega, 29, has been charged with unlawful imprisonment, disorderly conduct/fighting, and tampering with physical evidence. 

Ortega was originally arrested and booked into the Greenlee County Jail on May 13 on charges of aggravated assault, unlawful imprisonment, threatening or intimidating, and tampering with physical evidence. The long-form complaint was filed with Clifton Justice Court on July 7. 

The charges stem from an incident that allegedly occurred on the evening of May 13. According to a Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office report, deputies were dispatched at about 11 p.m. to the victim’s mother’s house where she had sought refuge. The victim said she and her husband, Ortega, had been at the Morenci Club and got into an argument about what time to leave. When they arrived home, the victim said she told Ortega to exit the vehicle and when he refused she took their child who was in the back seat, and began walking down the street. 

When Ortega pursued, the victim said she got back into the car with her child but Ortega would not let her leave. She said at some point Ortega grabbed her by the hair and pulled out a chunk in his hand. A deputy would later document the injury to her scalp. The victim was reportedly seven months pregnant at the time of the incident.

After receiving the report from the victim, the deputy located Ortega at his house and interviewed him about what happened. 

The deputy noted Ortega smelled strongly of alcohol. Ortega initially denied the allegations against him and said he had a video of the victim harassing him. The deputy reviewed the video on Ortega’s cell phone and asked if there were any other videos that could have caught the interaction. Previously, the victim had stated their Ring doorbell camera would have caught Ortega pulling out her hair. 

Ortega denied any other recordings existed, according to the deputy’s report, and denied deleting them from his Ring app. However, the deputy showed Ortega a video from the Ring doorbell camera given to him by the victim that was not on Ortega’s app. The video showed Ortega being picked up by his parents and allegedly admitting to pulling his wife’s hair to his mother. 

After his police interview, Ortega was arrested and booked into jail. He had an initial appearance on May 15 and his next scheduled court appearance is for his preliminary hearing in front of Clifton Justice Court on Aug. 22. The PH is held to determine if there is enough evidence to bind the case over to Greenlee County Superior Court.