U-R update

SPARTA, Ga. — A Georgia prison inmate is expected to be sentenced by a judge in Hancock County Superior Court on Thursday morning for the slaying of another state inmate last year, The Union-Recorder has learned.

The murder took place on March 13, 2020, at Hancock State Prison near Sparta, according to Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale III. He, along with Assistant District Attorney Savanna Roughen, will represent the state during the sentencing hearing, which is set to begin at 9 a.m. 

The defendant in the case is Ceasar Cortez.

He is accused of stabbing to death Cesar Arnold Pastrana, according to court documents.

Cortez was indicted by a Hancock County grand jury last October on charges of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault.

Grand jurors accused Cortez of stabbing Pastrana in the chest with a shank, a homemade weapon often made in prisons.

Cortez was initially charged with the crimes by Special Agent Timothy Konzelman, who works with the Georgia Department of Corrections Criminal Investigations Division.

Konzelman worked the murder investigation at the state prison.

The GDC investigator, meanwhile, requested assistance from Special Agent Brian Hargrove of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 6 Office in Milledgeville with the processing of the crime scene. Hargrove is no longer a crime scene specialist. He now serves as assistant special agent in-charge of the GBI office in Milledgeville.

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