Jury selection resumes in trial of man charged in shooting death of SAPD detective after 4-month delay

Otis McKane faces death penalty if found guilty in slaying of Detective Ben Marconi in Nov. 2016

Jury selection in the trial of Otis McKane was put on hold in December as the number of COVID-19 cases in Bexar County began to soar.
Jury selection in the trial of Otis McKane was put on hold in December as the number of COVID-19 cases in Bexar County began to soar.

SAN ANTONIO – After a four-month delay, individual questioning of prospective jurors resumed in the capital murder trial of a man charged in the slaying of a San Antonio Police Department detective.

Jury selection in the trial of Otis McKane was put on hold in December as the number of COVID-19 cases in Bexar County began to soar.

The questioning is being conducted in the huge Central Jury Room of the Justice Center amid strict COVID-19 protocols, with social distancing and the wearing of masks enforced.

“That definitely has changed things,” defense attorney Joel Perez said of how COVID-19 protocols are affecting jury selection. “I think we’re still making do, but it’s definitely different. A less intimate, sterile setting.”

McKane, 35, is accused of shooting SAPD Detective Ben Marconi in the head execution-style on Nov. 20, 2016, as he sat in his patrol car outside police headquarters. McKane faces the death penalty if he is found guilty.

Since over four years have passed since the slaying, Perez said finding jurors may be slightly easier.

”There are many individuals, quite frankly, that are not familiar with the case,” he said.

Presiding judge Ron Rangel plans to seat 12 jurors and three alternates.

No trial date has been set since individual juror questioning is a time-consuming process.

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About the Authors:

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

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.