Authorities in Riverside County filed murder charges against Simon Last Cortez, 40, on Wednesday. Cortez is accused of lying in wait for and murdering his stepfather, George Gregory Alongi.
Alongi, a former Lake Elsinore city councilman, was found dead from multiple stab wounds and slashes on February 12, 2013. Though investigators did suspect Cortez's involvement, but he denied having been at the home for over a year. However, authorities say that he admitted to the murder in February while serving a prison term for drug charges. Cortez, who was being recorded, confessed to preparing for the murder by waiting until his stepfather returned home before beating him and attacking him with a utility knife. Cortez said that he killed Alongi because Alongi had beaten his wife, Cortez's mother. Because the murder charge includes enhancements for use of a weapon and lying in wait, Cortez is eligible for the death penalty.
Alongi served on the Lake Elsinore city council from 1992 until 1999, when a judge found him guilty of 14 misconduct charges and ordered him removed from office. In his time as a councilman he was disputatious and was twice removed from council chambers by the police. He and his wife were living together at the time of the murder in spite of a previous conviction for domestic abuse. Cortez also has a previous criminal record, with convictions for burglary, armed robbery, and the drug charges that led to his arrest Aug. 30 and for which he is currently serving a prison term.
A conviction for murder all but guarantees a lengthy prison sentence. But there are factors that can lead to even harsher punishments like life in prison without parole or the death penalty. Examples include lying in wait for someone and using a weapon as was the case in Alongi's murder.
Due to the severity of the charges, prosecutors are often particularly eager to obtain convictions in cases of murder and other violent crimes. Do not doubt that once you are charged you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. That's why you need someone to stand up for your rights.
Burge, Sarah. "LAKE ELSINORE: 'I whacked him,' says stepson accused of murder." http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/lake-elsinore/lake-elsinore-headlines-index/20140320-lake-elsinore-i-whacked-him-says-stepson-accused-of-murder.ece. Riverside Press-Enterprise. March 20, 2014.
Burge, Sarah. "LAKE ELSINORE: Stepson charged in slaying of ex-councilman." http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/lake-elsinore/lake-elsinore-headlines-index/20140319-lake-elsinore-stepson-charged-in-slaying-of-ex-councilman.ece. Riverside Press-Enterprise. March 19, 2014.