Press Releases

Division of Criminal Justice logo.


Hartford Man Convicted in 2003 Cold Case Murder

A 40-year-old former Hartford man was convicted today of Murder for the 2003 slaying of a man who was shot to death while sitting in a car.

RAFAEL “FELO” ORTIZ was found guilty by a jury following a trial in Hartford Superior Court of the slaying of Benjamin “Benji” Baez, who was fatally shot on June 11, 2003, while sitting in a car parked on Main Street in Hartford.

Ortiz, who previously lived on Wilson Street in Hartford, was arrested in October 2017 in New York by Hartford Police detectives assigned to the Cold Case/Shooting Task Force Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney. The arrest was the result of an investigation by Hartford police in conjunction with the Cold Case/Shooting Task Force Unit.

Baez’ slaying was featured in the fourth edition of the cold case playing cards produced in conjunction with the Department of Correction and sold to inmates in the Connecticut corrections system. Information on Baez’ death was described on the six of diamonds card.

Baez will be sentenced on May 2 in Hartford Superior Court. The penalty for Murder is not less than 25 years nor more than life in prison, which under Connecticut law is defined as 60 years.

The case was prosecuted by the Cold Case/Shooting Task Force Unit.