Murder trial ordered in Michigan killing that stoked anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A man accused of killing his Michigan girlfriend after returning to the U.S. following deportation was ordered Wednesday to stand trial for murder.

The case against Brandon Ortiz Vite, a Mexican citizen, became a political flashpoint in April when former President Donald Trump accused the Biden administration of failing to keep him out of the country. Ortiz Vite, 25, was deported in 2020. It’s not known whether he returned during the last year of the Trump administration or during the Biden administration.

A judge in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has now found enough evidence to send Ortiz Vite to trial for murder and other charges in the death of Ruby Garcia, 25, who was found dead on the side of a highway on March 22.

A message seeking comment from defense attorney Naesha Leys was not immediately returned.

Before the shooting, she and Ortiz Vite were inside a car on U.S. 131, arguing about their relationship, investigators said. Ortiz Vite is accused of shooting Garcia in the head, removing her body from the car and then driving away.

Police said the evidence against him includes his call to 911 two days later, confessing to the crime and declaring that he wanted to turn himself in. He was at a church attending Palm Sunday services when he made the call.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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