On Wednesday, a jury in San Antonio found a man who had previously worked for the Border Patrol guilty of the murder of four women whom he had met in the city of Laredo and then shot to death.
After almost two weeks of deliberations, the jury came back with their decision, finding Juan David Ortiz, 39, a former supervisory intelligence officer with the United States Border Patrol, guilty of capital murder. The trial had lasted nearly two weeks. Mr. Ortiz is facing the possibility of life in jail.
The prosecution explained to the jury that Mr. Ortiz had picked up many prostitutes over the course of twelve days in the autumn of 2018 and driven them to an isolated location. It was claimed by the prosecution that he used his official weapon to carry out the murders.
The deaths caused widespread panic in the city of Laredo, which is located on the border, and led to an extensive search. After a lady who worked as a prostitute reported to the police that one of her customers had threatened her with a pistol and that she had barely avoided being killed in the incident, investigators were able to make significant headway in the investigation. Erika Pea, the victim, was able to positively identify her assailant, Mr. Ortiz.
Attending the proceedings were members of the victims’ families, including Melissa Ramirez, Claudine Anne Luera, Guiselda Alicia Cantu, and Janelle Ortiz. These individuals wore T-shirts with pictures of their deceased loved ones. When they heard detailed depictions of the final moments of the women’s lives, there were instances when they sobbed loudly.
During the closing remarks, the prosecution, Isidro Alaniz, said that Mr. Ortiz chose his victims because he intended to “clean up the streets.”
According to Mr. Alaniz, “Mr. Ortiz was a serial murderer back then, and he still is a serial killer today.” “Indifferent, calculating, and heartless, just like that. When the adversary is hiding inside the ranks of law enforcement, it is a terrible situation.
The attorney who was representing Mr. Ortiz, Joel Perez, spoke to the jury and portrayed his client as an outstanding law enforcement agent, husband, and father of three. Mr. Perez said that his client had denied any involvement and had only confessed as a result of being pressured to do so after being questioned by the police for a total of nine hours.
During his closing argument, Mr. Perez told the jury, “Police officers have a lot of authority, and we need to put checks and balances on them.” It was a misguided attempt to induce. That admission was made by him without coercion.
He questioned whether or not the other individual was indeed a serial murderer.
During the course of the trial, the jurors saw a video tape of Mr. Ortiz’s interrogation by the police that lasted approximately ten hours. In it, Mr. Ortiz can be heard confessing to three known deaths and providing the locations of a fourth victim who authorities had previously been ignorant of. In addition, Mr. Ortiz reveals the whereabouts of a victim whose identity had previously been unknown to police.
As the proceedings of the trial were drawing to a conclusion, the prosecutor, Mr. Alaniz, said to the jury that “that video is the greatest evidence.”
During the emotional speeches that were given in front of the court, members of Mr. Ortiz’s family accosted him. It was Ms. Ramirez’s mother, Maria Cristina Benavides, who delivered the message to him in Spanish, stating that he deserved to spend the rest of his life behind bars. “Melissa was a kind and kind individual. Ms. Benavides informed him that they had no right to take her life. “You had no right to take her life.” “She was the centre of my world, but now that world is gone.”
The United States Border Patrol, an agency that employs more than 19,000 people to patrol vast and frequently inaccessible areas of the United States-Mexico border where smuggling drugs, trafficking people, and other forms of illegal activity are common, almost never has agents with convictions as severe as these.
In 2018, another supervisor in the Laredo sector of the Border Patrol, Ronald Anthony Burgos Aviles, was charged with murder in connection with the deaths of a lady with whom he had a love relationship and her baby son. The hearing for the case has not yet taken place.
Ms. Pea, the woman who claimed that she had escaped an attack, testified in court the previous week that Mr. Ortiz had told her that he was afraid that the police might find his DNA during the investigation into the killing of Ms. Ramirez. Ms. Ramirez was the victim of the attack that Ms. Pea said she had escaped. Ms. Pea, who stated that she had known Mr. Ortiz as a client for months, stated that he had told her that he had picked up Ms. Ramirez days before she was found dead in a remote area next to an interstate highway. Ms. Ramirez’s body was discovered in an area that was adjacent to an interstate highway.
Ms. Pea stated that few days later, Mr. Ortiz brought her to a gas station and drew a revolver on her. She said in her testimony that she exited his vehicle, yelled for assistance, and then ran into a law enforcement officer who was pumping gas. The officer pointed the detectives in the direction of Mr. Ortiz’s residence.
He was taken into custody a few hours later in the parking lot of a hotel.
Mr. Ortiz had been a rising star in the Border Patrol, where he spent his career within a sector that encompasses more than 100,000 square miles and stretches from the border region in South Texas all the way north to the Texas-Oklahoma line. In addition, Mr. Ortiz had spent his career within a sector that encompasses more than 100,000 square miles and includes more than 100,000 people. After quitting the Navy in 2009, he joined the FBI and later revealed to investigators that he had spent some of his military service in Iraq. He attended St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and received his master’s degree while working as an agent there. He continued to work his way up through the ranks, eventually becoming a supervisor in one of the intelligence divisions.