Christopher Cortez enters guilty plea for April 2019 third degree murder

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The prosecution and defense reached a plea agreement in court Thursday for Christopher Cortez, in the 2019 homicide of Joseph Monka.

Cortez was one of four people arrested and charged after the body of Joseph Monka was found unresponsive in his Arch Street home in Edwardsville in April 2019.

In addition to Cortez, Monka’s granddaughter Gabriella Long, Mercedes Hall, and Devin Cunningham were all arrested and charged with murder, conspiracy, and others.

Cortez was sentenced to 35 to 80 years. Hall awaits sentencing after entering a plea in October. Long and Cunningham remain incarcerated pending trial.

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