BOSTON, MA -- The first woman and the first Hispanic to head the U.S. District Attorney's office in Massachusetts, Carmen Ortiz, led the case against Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, who was recently convicted and sentenced to death.
Ortiz, who grew up in a humble Puerto Rican household in the neighborhood of "El Barrio" (East Harlem) in New York City, sat down for an exclusive interview with Telemundo's Isolda Peguero and reflected on her historic role.
"I feel very gratified and very relieved that we were able to obtain justice in the case; I don't see it as winning, it's really not the right phrase for it, " said Ortiz to Telemundo about the successful conviction of Tsarnaev. The Latina prosecutor said she is relieved that her office was able to show the world how the U.S. justice system works, and that all the evidence showed that Tsarnaev and his brother had been responsible for the bombing and the murder 4 days later of a young police officer at MIT as they were hiding from authorities.
"It was an appropriate ending to what had occurred," she said about the conviction.
Ortiz, who was nominated to the position by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009, told Peguero that she grew up watching "Perry Mason," which spurred an interest in law at an early age.
"When I look back at my upbringing and my career - and I hope I'm an example to others - that if you work hard, and you study hard, and you set goals for yourself, you can achieve them," said Ortiz. "I never thought I'd be where I am now, even though I feel incredible pride of where I am."
Ortiz has called Boston her home now for many years. She told Telemundo she loves reading, working out, and dining out with her husband and grown daughters, and still enjoys two aspects of her heritage - food and dancing.
The Boston D.A. loves her alcapurrias (meat-filled plantain fritters) and rice and beans, as well as dancing merengue and salsa.
Ortiz has won numerous awards for her leadership and her career; she was named Latina Lawyer of the Year in 2014 by the Hispanic National Bar Association and received the New England Women's Leadership Award in 2013.