Tucson man gets 7 years in 2011 slaying of parks designer

Defendant apologizes to victim's family, was 2nd tied to '11 killing
2013-03-30T00:00:00Z 2013-04-04T12:52:59Z Tucson man gets 7 years in 2011 slaying of parks designerVeronica M. Cruz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A Tucson man accused of trying to cover up a murder by putting the victim's body in a bathroom he tried to seal with tape was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison and five years' probation Friday.

Jorge Osorio Diaz, 23, pleaded guilty in February to burglary in the second degree and hindering prosecution in connection with the June 2011 murder of 61-year-old Robert Pardee.

Diaz's lover, Jonathan Baumbach, 28, admitted to blindfolding Pardee, hitting him in the head with a hammer and slitting his throat after persuading Pardee he was going to give him a gift.

Diaz admitted that he used tape to seal Pardee's body in a bathroom in an effort to mask the smell.

Pardee's body was found several days later by his daughter who went to check on him.

Pardee was killed because he became tired of Baumbach and Diaz using his home for parties, according to court documents and testimony.

After the murder, the two men stole Pardee's credit cards, paintings, truck and other personal belongings and fled to Las Vegas where they partied for a few days.

Diaz and Baumbach were found sleeping in the back of Pardee's truck in Spokane, Wash., in late June.

Baumbach was sentenced to 31 years in prison in December 2012.

Chief Criminal Deputy County Attorney Kellie Johnson sought a prison sentence for Diaz because of the emotional and financial impact the crime has had on Pardee's family.

Johnson said Diaz had indicated he knew that Baumbach was planning to kill Pardee and did nothing to prevent it.

At the sentencing hearing, Avery Pardee, the victim's only child, described going through her father's truck and belongings a couple days ago and finding remnants of the crime, like a scrap of paper with the man's Social Security number and his mother's maiden name.

"Their actions seemed so senseless and at the same time so deliberate," she told Pima County Superior Court Judge Casey McGinley.

Defense attorney Jason Rosell told McGinley that Diaz didn't think Baumbach was serious about killing Pardee and that his statements were nothing more than "idle threats."

Rosell asked for a probation sentence because Diaz was remorseful, accepted responsibility, has family support and has no criminal history.

Diaz was addicted to drugs at the time of the slaying, which played a big part in his actions, Rosell said.

Diaz quit taking drugs on his own and has been sober for a year and a half, Rosell said.

At the sentencing, Diaz apologized to Pardee's family and told the judge he was a changed man.

McGinley sentenced Diaz to prison for the burglary charge and probation for the hindering prosecution charge.

In determining Diaz's sentence, McGinley said he considered the impact of the crime on the family and the fact that Diaz failed to render aid or seek help for a person he once considered a friend.

Pardee was a landscape architect who helped with the design of Agua Caliente Park and was involved in the creation of Feliz Paseos Park, known for its paved trail that gives access to the disabled.

On StarNet: Follow the news and events at Pima County's courthouses in the blog, At the Courthouse, at azstarnet.com/courthouse

"Their actions seemed so senseless and at the same time so deliberate."

Avery Pardee,

daughter of victim Robert Pardee, at sentencing

Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at vcruz@azstarnet.com or at 573-4224.

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