December 18, 2014

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Coroner rules homicide, overdose in Lorain deaths

Catalina Ortiz

LORAIN — William Taylor had a combination of bath salts, heroin and cocaine in his system when he repeatedly shot Catalina Ortiz before jumping through a neighbor’s window in October, according to police.

Early in the morning on Oct. 13, Ortiz, 21, of Lorain, was shot to death at 32-year-old Taylor’s home at 1618½ Washington Ave.

Shortly after the shooting, Taylor ran from the home and crashed through a window at a nearby house on West 17th Street about 5:45 a.m. Taylor was disoriented and yelling “don’t shoot me,” according to residents at the home. Police arrested Taylor and he was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center, where he died soon after the incident.

On Friday, police officially ruled Ortiz’s death a homicide and said that she was visiting Taylor, who was a casual friend, at his house Oct. 13. Taylor shot Ortiz multiple times with a pistol after using a combination of drugs, said Lorain police Lt. Roger Watkins.

William Taylor

Watkins said that Taylor and Ortiz were alone in the room at the time of the shooting, and that Taylor fired multiple shots into the floor and walls of the room.

“There was a large amount of ammunition in that room,” Watkins said.

The combination of bath salts, heroin and cocaine that Taylor used directly contributed to his death, according to Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans.

Residents at the house on West 17th Street said police used a Taser on Taylor, but Watkins denied that, saying that police merely took Taylor into custody after the incident.

Taylor’s friend, Amber Penell, was surprised by the verdict.

“I’m upset (because) he’s not that person. He was my closest friend,” Penell said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.