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Chicago officer and her ex-girlfriend make headlines again, this time for twisted murder-for-hire plot

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UPDATE:

A Chicago woman has been arrested after trying to hire a hitman to kill her ex-girlfriend’s new suspected lover. 54-year-old Lissette Ortiz is facing multiple charges relating to the kidnapping and murder-for-hire plot.

The ex-girlfriend of Ortiz, Marni Washington, happens to be a Chicago police officer assigned to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s security detail.

Ortiz allegedly wanted the hitman to burn the woman alive in a car fire, but Ortiz also wanted her to know it was Ortiz who was responsible before the victim died. Instead of a hitman however, Ortiz wound up soliciting an undercover police officer, which ultimately led to her arrest.

This is also not the first time Ortiz and Washington have made headlines. Back in August, Washington was cleared of domestic abuse in court when her attorneys presented evidence that Ortiz fabricated the allegations.

That incident reportedly stemmed from Washington asking Ortiz to move out of the home they shared.

Earlier

Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas
Chicago Tribune

A Chicago woman will appear for a bond hearing Sunday after police arrested her on suspicion of asking a man to kidnap and kill another woman. The man she asked to pull off the plan was an undercover police officer, authorities said.

The woman was arrested about 5:15 p.m. Friday in the 4700 block of North Central Avenue in Jefferson Park on the city’s Northwest Side, according to Officer Michelle Tannehill, a Chicago police spokeswoman.

Tannehill in an email said few details of the alleged plot were immediately available. She noted only the arrest came “after soliciting an undercover officer to kidnap and kill a 62-year-old woman.”

Lissette Ortiz, 54, of the 4800 block of North Austin Avenue in Jefferson Park, has been charged with one felony count of murder-solicitation for hire, Tannehill said.

“There is no additional information available regarding this incident,” she said.

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EARLIER:

Elvia Malagón
Chicago Tribune

A Chicago police officer who had been assigned to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s security detail was acquitted Friday of a misdemeanor domestic battery charge that alleged she physically attacked her then-girlfriend.

After listening to hours of testimony, Cook County Judge Megan Goldish ruled she didn’t find credible the testimony of the former girlfriend of Officer Marni Washington, and threw out the criminal charge and an order of protection that barred contact between the two.

In announcing her verdict, Goldish, who is assigned to Domestic Violence Court, cited surveillance videos from inside Washington’s home that never showed a physical altercation as well as photos that apparently showed no bruises on the girlfriend the day after the incident.

“This is unfair,” Lissette Ortiz, the ex-girlfriend, shouted as she stormed out of the courtroom following the one-day bench trial.

Washington smiled after the verdict was announced. She later declined to comment, but her attorney, Thomas Needham, said Washington, 50, hopes to return to the mayor’s security detail. That decision will be up to the Police Department, he said.

Washington had been stripped of her police powers and placed on desk duty following her arrest early last month.

Anthony Guglielmi, spokesman for Chicago police, said late Friday that the department was aware of the verdict and they were working to complete their own investigation.

“Any allegation of domestic violence is taken very seriously by the department and must be thoroughly investigated,” he said by email. “If any wrong doing is substantiated, individuals are held accountable.”

Ortiz alleged that on June 27, Washington pushed and pinned her against a wall of the home they shared at the time in the Galewood neighborhood on the city’s Northwest Side, according to prosecutors.

Ortiz said the alleged confrontation happened after the couple had argued for about an hour inside the home. She testified that Washington ripped her shorts while trying to grab her car keys, preventing her from leaving the house.

“She pushed me with all her body, and she was using her hands to hold me against the wall,” she testified Friday.

The next day, Ortiz said she noticed a bruise near her collarbone.

She testified she called police three days after the incident after friends and family encouraged her to report what happened.

Needham, though, argued the physical altercation never took place. He alleged that Ortiz went to police the same day that Washington had posted eviction notices throughout the home ordering her to move out.

A soft-spoken Washington testified the relationship had been deteriorating the past year. In late May, Washington said, she told Ortiz she wanted her to move out because their relationship was worsening.

The officer denied ever hitting Ortiz, let alone that day.

Goldish and attorneys gathered around a laptop to watch snippets of surveillance video from inside the home pointed toward the door.

In announcing her verdict, Goldish said on videos showing the couple arguing, Ortiz appeared animated while Washington remained seated much of the time.

The defense also presented photos of Ortiz taken the day after the incident that didn’t show any visible bruises on her. The judge also remarked that Ortiz appeared to be holding car keys in one photo, contradicting her testimony that Washington had taken the keys from her.

Goldish also found Ortiz’s three-day delay in contacting police “very telling.”

Assistant State’s Attorneys Orlando Carreno and Steven Haamid argued the videos didn’t entirely depict what happened that day.

While the defense argued Ortiz stood to lose her home if Washington evicted her, Haamid argued that Washington had the most to lose — her police post.

Washington is “here to provide you half videos and half truths,” Haamid said.

After the hearing, Ortiz told a Chicago Tribune reporter said she believed critical video evidence was either tampered with or missing.

As she went to leave the courthouse, Ortiz shouted at Washington: “You know you erased that video.”

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