Spike in COVID-19 cases prompts Bexar County judge to temporarily postpone jury selection in capital murder trial

8 jurors qualify so far to serve in trial of Otis McKane

Spike in COVID-19 cases prompts Bexar County judge to temporarily postpone jury selection in capital murder trial
Spike in COVID-19 cases prompts Bexar County judge to temporarily postpone jury selection in capital murder trial

SAN ANTONIO – The jury selection process had qualified eight jurors in the capital murder trial of Otis McKane when it was temporarily suspended Friday by Bexar County District Judge Ron Rangel.

The judge cited concerns over the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases in Bexar County as reason for halting the proceedings.

”I’m going to evaluate the situation every week,” Rangel said. “Because of the spikes that we’ve seen, there’s been an indication by the lawyers that they’re starting to feel a bit uncomfortable.”

Defense attorney Raymond Fuchs said Friday that attorneys were not the only ones feeling uncomfortable.

“You could see that concern developing among the jury panel as we were bringing them in,” Fuchs said.

The state is seeking the death penalty for McKane, 31, who is accused of fatally shooting veteran San Antonio Police Department Detective Ben Marconi. The detective was shot in the head execution-style as he sat in his patrol car outside police headquarters on Nov. 21, 2016.

Given the gravity of the charges, Fuchs said he agrees with Rangel’s decision.

”What he wants ultimately, in our case, is that the justice system and the jury decide our client’s fate. That it not be decided by a virus,” he said.

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About the Authors:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.