EVERETT — Two Snohomish County men must serve prison sentences of 6½ and 10½ years for stabbing a stranger to death at a Motel 6.
Michael Dapas, now 24, and Eric Miramontes-Villagrana, now 28, worked together to kill Pablo Ortega-Ortega following a pair of heated confrontations in the early morning hours of Aug. 23, 2019, according to court papers.
Ortega-Ortega, 45, had been in his room at the motel on 128th Street SW with his girlfriend and two other friends. He and his girlfriend walked to another room to get a cellphone when he saw two strangers — later identified as Dapas and Miramontes-Villagrana — sitting in a white van in the parking lot. They got into an argument in Spanish, and the two men yelled at Ortega-Ortega to come down from the balcony and fight, according to court papers. Ortega-Ortega refused and returned to his room.
The two men left to go to a gas station, then came back to the motel and confronted Ortega-Ortega again, when he went outside for a smoke.
Ortega-Ortega and the two men fought on the balcony, wrote deputy prosecutor Jacqueline Lawrence in charging papers. Dapas restrained Ortega-Ortega, while Miramontes-Villagrana stabbed him, according to a witness account in court documents.
Ortega-Ortega died at the scene. He’d suffered stab wounds to his neck and shoulder.
Miramontes-Villagrana and Dapas fled in the van. Dapas drove. Miramontes-Villagrana repeated at least five times, “I got him,” as they drove off.
In separate interviews with detectives, the two men confirmed they were at the motel and had gotten into a fight. Dapas claimed he didn’t see a weapon in the scuffle, but reported he saw the knife earlier that day. Dapas also reported he knew Miramontes-Villagrana always carried a serrated knife with him and drew a picture of its blade for the detectives. Detectives were unable to track down the knife.
Ortega-Ortega, of Everett, was survived by three children. He worked in construction and was living at the motel at the time of his death.
Both suspects were charged with second-degree murder in September 2019.
Dapas, of Everett, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in December 2020. Under state guidelines, Dapas faced a range of 6½ to 8½ years in prison. He had no prior criminal record. The deputy prosecutor asked the judge to hand down the lowest possible sentence. The recommendation was a “product of extensive negotiations between the parties,” Lawrence wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
The plea agreement did not require him to testify at his co-defendant’s trial.
Superior Court Judge Paul Thompson ordered Dapas to serve a prison sentence of 6½ years.
A jury trial began in June for Miramontes-Villagrana, of Lynnwood. In the middle of the case, the defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter with a deadly weapon.
This month, Thompson ordered Miramontes-Villagrana to serve about 10½ years behind bars.
Miramontes-Villagrana faced a longer sentence because of his past felony record.
In summer 2011, he was riding in a gray Acura Integra on I-5 when another car cut off the Acura, according to charging papers. The Acura driver followed the car until it pulled over. From the passenger window of the Acura, Miramontes-Villagrana pointed a revolver at the people in the other car, saying, “Are you (expletive) kidding me?”
Miramontes-Villagrana pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in that case. A judge sentenced him to three months in jail and ordered him to undergo anger management counseling.
Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @reporterellen