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Oxnard man sentenced in fatal shooting of nightclub valet

An Oxnard man was sentenced this month to 114 years to life in state prison for fatally shooting a valet worker in the chest at a Pico Rivera nightclub, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

A jury on Jan. 23 found Sebastian Zazueta, a 22-year-old Latino, guilty of killing Melvin Ernesto Cortez-Ortega, 37. Zazueta was also found guilty of four counts of attempted murder, according to prosecutors. 

On Sept. 22, 2013, Zazueta and his friends went to watch a performance at El Rodeo nightclub when they got into an argument with security guards and were kicked out, prosecutors said.

Cortez-Ortega was working as a valet shortly after 2:30 a.m. when Zazueta tried to get back into the club to use the restroom. The security guard refused to let Zazueta into the club and he returned with a gun and shot at the employees.

Cortez-Ortega was struck by gunfire and died several hours later at a hospital.  The security guard was also shot but survived.

Cortez-Ortega worked two jobs and was rarely home on weekdays. His wife, Marielba Orozco, previously told The Times that Cortez-Ortega was attentive to her son from a previous relationship and was a great husband.

“He did whatever he could to keep us happy,” she said in 2013. “If I wanted something, he’d get it for me. Even something as small as an ice cream cone.” 

-- Jerome Campbell

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