Machete Attack Retrial Begins

Antonio Ortega is accused of trying to kill a Fountain Valley man in a love triangle murder-for-hire plot. A previous jury failed to reach a verdict.

Antonio Ortega, the Santa Ana man accused of attacking Rick Sharpski with a machete as part of a Fountain Valley murder-for-hire plot, goes back to court Monday on charges of attempted murder and conspiracy.

Ortega, 26, allegedly conspired with Sharpski's wife, Mary, 49, and her lover, Michael Shores II, 41, both of Fountain Valley, to bump off the victim. The co-defendants are being tried separately.

Ortega is accused of attacking Rick Sharpski with a machete in an alley outside the couple’s home and leaving him to die on the morning of March 3, 2009, fracturing his skull, severing a thumb and fingers, partly severing his nose and causing several other machete wounds.

Monday's hearing is a retrial for Ortega, who had a mistrial declared in 2011 after a previous jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

At the time of the crime, the Sharpskis were married with three children. Mary Sharpski allegedly had an affair with Shores, a tenant in her family’s home for approximately one year.

Plotting with Shores, she allegedly hired Shores' friend Ortega to murder her husband and supplied information on the victim’s daily route, prosecutors said.

When Fountain Valley Police Department officers responded at 5:50 a.m. to the scene, they found Rick Sharpski on the ground near the carports bleeding severely and semi-conscious. He was transported to a hospital, where he narrowly
survived after undergoing several surgeries.

At the first trial, Ortega acknowledged the machete was his, but said he had loaned it to a friend and never got it back.

If convicted, Ortega faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison.


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