SALT LAKE CITY — Angel Ortiz was 15 years old when he stabbed his sister’s husband to death in 2005. Since then, he opened a tortilla shop in an idyllic mountain city, got married and had two daughters.

Not the typical fugitive, his defense attorneys say.

But his crime — attacking Jeremiah Allred with two knives and a shovel — also was atypical in how brutal it was, prosecutors contend.

Third District Judge Linda Jones agreed. The case was made “more devastating and painful” by Ortiz’s young age at the time of the killing, she said Monday just before sentencing him to at least one and up to 15 years in the Utah State Prison.

Jones praised the life Ortiz built in Toluca, Mexico, after his father bought him a one-way bus ticket to that country in 2005. But the judge also called his crime “particularly violent and heinous. In fact, I would call it nightmarish.”

Ortiz’s defense team had asked for a sentence of one more year in the Salt Lake County Jail, arguing that he had feared for the safety of his sister and her kids when he killed Allred more than 14 years ago. Defense attorney Michael Sikora said his client was provoked continually until he snapped.

Ortiz, shackled and in a blue jail uniform, apologized Monday.

“I was young, I was scared ... I did something horrible in my adolescence,” he said. “I feel really really bad about it. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

As part of an agreement with prosecutors, he admitted to killing Allred while believing the death was legally justified under the circumstances. He pleaded guilty in August to manslaughter, a second-degree felony, court records show. He originally faced a charge of murder in juvenile court, a case that was refiled in the adult system.

Ortiz was first charged in juvenile court in November 2005 with murder, and the case was refiled in the adult system 12 years later. He was arrested in 2018 after police tracked his Facebook messages with his family — despite an alias he used — and found out where he lived.

His attorneys said violence was a constant in his childhood home and he could now be deported to Ecuador, where he is from but has little connection to now.

Prosecutor Vincent Meister said Ortiz’s transition to a quiet life is in large part why prosecutors approved the plea deal. But he insisted prison time was necessary.

“This was a very brutal murder,” Meister said. Moreover, he said Ortiz eventually told investigators he saw news coverage while in Mexico and knew Allred had died, but continued to hide.

Ortiz was affiliated with gangs, Meister continued, although defense attorneys said he was never officially a member of any. Ortiz had a juvenile record and was released to Allred after being detained on allegations of burglary and possessing a dangerous weapon.

“It wasn’t someone who he necessarily feared,” Meister argued.

Sikora countered that Allred had been stalking Ortiz’s sister just before his death and had assaulted her in the past.

Allred was driving alongside his estranged wife on Oct. 28, 2005, as she was trying to walk away from him, police said. That’s when Ortiz and her current boyfriend pulled up next to him, court records say.

When the boyfriend smashed Allred’s windshield with a large piece of wood, Allred got out and ran. Ortiz chased after him, picking up a shovel from a yard.

When others caught up with Ortiz, he said Allred “would not mess with them anymore,” according to charges. When asked if that meant he had killed Allred, Ortiz allegedly stated that Allred “was sleeping.”

Allred was found dead in a carport near 3800 South and 4500 West, of what the medical examiner determined that a “sharp force injury” to his chest.

On Monday, Ortiz was granted credit for more than a year he has served in jail.