Sentencing phase in Berkeley County mother’s murder case begins Tuesday

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Berkeley County woman who murdered one daughter and tried to killed another appears in court Tuesday for the sentencing phase of her case.

Julie Orellana, 47 of Gerrardstown, pleaded guilty Jan. 9 to one count of murder and one count of attempted murder. A jury will be chosen to decide is she’ll receive mercy or not.

Julie Orellana

On September 20, 2018, West Virginia State Police responded to Orellana’s Tall Pine Lane residence after neighbor said an 11 year-old girl approached her residence with a gunshot wound to her leg.

A criminal complaint filed in Berkeley County Magistrate Court details the incident. It began when Orellana asked 8-year-old Eliza and her sister Olivia, 11, to go upstairs to find kittens stuck under a bed.

“Once inside the bedroom, Olivia Orellana stated her mother began firing a gun striking her in the leg and hitting her sister. Olivia Orellana stated she escaped the bedroom and leapt out an adjacent bedroom window to get help. During the initial investigation it was discovered that Julie Orellana left the scene in a white Honda SUV, which was found abandoned on Cashew Lane. A search was conducted of 291 Tall Pine Lane where Eliza Orellana was discovered deceased on the living room floor from multiple stab wounds and gunshot wounds to the chest, abdomen, neck and back.” -Sgt. W.R. Garrett, WV State Police

Orellana was indicted in February 2019 for murder, attempted murder, malicious assault and use of a firearm during a felony. She will appear in front of Circuit Judge Michael Lorensen for a mercy hearing.

If granted mercy by a 12-member jury, Orellana could be eligible for parole after 15 years, If denied, she could be sentenced to life in prison.

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