Former Border Patrol agent convicted of killing 4 Texas women

SAN ANTONIO — A former U.S. Border Patrol agent who confessed to killing four sex workers in Texas four years ago was convicted of capital murder on Wednesday.

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Juan David Ortiz, 39, was found guilty after jurors deliberated for more than five hours, KSAT-TV reported. Ortiz automatically received a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the shooting deaths of the four women in Laredo in 2018, according to the television station.

Ortiz’s trial lasted for eight days after the prosecution called 16 witnesses.

Ortiz, a Border Patrol intelligence supervisor when he was arrested, was accused of killing Melissa Ramirez, 29; Claudine Anne Luera, 42; Guiselda Alicia Cantu, 35; and Janelle Ortiz, 28; in September 2018, according to The Associated Press. Their bodies were found along roads on the outskirts of Laredo.

All four women were sex workers in Webb County, KENS-TV reported. The trial was held in Bexar County after a change of venue request, according to KSAT.

The trial was briefly paused earlier this week when a juror fainted as graphic images of the four women, who were shot in the head and neck, were shown, according to WOAI-TV. Families of the victims watched from the gallery as Webb County Medical Examiner Corinne Stern described autopsy reports to jurors, displaying photos of the victims’ bodies and bullet fragments, KENS reported.

During the trial, jurors heard Ortiz’s confession during a lengthy taped interview with investigators.

Ortiz told investigators he had been a customer of most of the women, but he also expressed disdain for sex workers, the AP reported. In the recording, Ortiz referred to the women as “trash” and “so dirty,” adding that he wanted to “clean up the streets.”

During final arguments on Wednesday, Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz told jurors that Ortiz “was a serial killer then, he’s a serial killer now.” She added that the video of Ortiz’s confession was “the best evidence,” KSAT reported.

Alaniz added that there was “no inducement” by law enforcement officials during Ortiz’s interrogation.

Defense attorney Joel Perez called the confession “improper inducement,” according to the television station.

“Is this guy a real serial killer?” Perez asked jurors. “He didn’t have that capacity. You have to look at the guy in front of you. Broken, PTSD, nightmares, insomnia.”

Ortiz served in the U.S. Navy for nearly eight years until 2009, the AP reported. He held several medical positions and served a three-year attachment with the U.S. Marines.

Perez also argued that Ortiz was medicated and had been drinking the night of the murders, according to the news organization.





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