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Man Charged in Christmas Eve Killing

Antonio Ortiz is accused of deadly assault on Northampton Street last year.

Easton police have filed homicide charges in the case of a man who was beaten to death Christmas Eve on Northampton Street.

Andres Ruiz-Avelizapa, 52, was beaten unconscious on Dec. 24, 2012, and never recovered. He died in January, and his death was ruled a homicide earlier this month.

On Thursday, Antonio Ortiz—who had already been charged with aggravated assault—learned he'd be facing a criminal homicide charge as well.

Ortiz, 34, of Easton, was arraigned before senior District Judge James Stocklas. He was being held without bail in Northampton County Prison.

According to court records:

Police responded to the 400 block of Northampton Street just before 1 a.m. after getting a report that one man had knocked another man unconscious.

They found a man—late identified as Ruiz-Avelizapa—on the ground, bleeding from his head. He was taken to Easton Hospital, where doctors determined he had sustained serious injuries.

A witness, Jesse Atkinson, told police he had seen an argument between Ortiz and a woman, and saw Ruiz-Avelizapa come in contact with them, court records say.

According to court records, Ortiz swung two punches at Ruiz-Avelizapa, who fell to the ground, the witness said. He said he saw Ortiz go to Ruiz-Avelizapa and "manipulate" his clothing, court records say.

The woman told police Ortiz knocked Ruiz-Avelizapa to the ground, court records say.

Police say Ortiz initially said he had no contact with Ruiz-Avelizapa, but later told investigators Ruiz-Avelizapa had pushed him and that Ortiz had pushed back, according to court records.

Court records say Ruiz-Avelizapa died from prolonged anoxic and ischemic encephalopathy due to blunt force trauma to the head.

His death was the sixth recorded homicide in Easton for 2012. It's the most the city has seen since at least 1970.

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