SAN ANTONIO – Programming note: On Thursday, July 8, at 7 p.m., join KSAT courthouse reporter Erica Hernandez for a livestream to preview the trial on KSAT.com/tv.
It was a shocking crime.
SAPD Detective Benjamin Marconi was shot in his patrol car in broad daylight right outside police headquarters. The suspect was on the loose for more than a day before he was taken into custody and he got married in the county courthouse just hours after the crime.
That suspect, Otis McKane, will soon have his day in court in the county’s first death penalty case in years.
KSAT 12 will be covering every day of this trial with live coverage and daily online recaps. To follow along with the trial, sign up for our “Open Court” Newsletter.
In the following timeline, KSAT 12 looks back over the events of the past five years leading up to the trial.
On Nov. 20, 2016, at about 11:30 a.m., SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi was sitting in his patrol car outside SAPD Public Safety Headquarters writing a ticket. A vehicle pulled up behind him and the driver walked up to Marconi’s window and shot him twice in the head. Marconi was rushed to Brooke Army Medical Center but was pronounced dead at 12:22 p.m.
An intensive search for the suspect ensued and SAPD released a couple of photos within the first few hours of the investigation. The first was of a black Mitsubishi that was seen leaving the scene of the crime and a photo of a man who was seen early the morning of Nov. 20 walking inside the lobby of SAPD Public Safety Headquarters. The search for the suspect would last 30 hours until Otis McKane was taken into custody.
Suspect Identified and Arrested
A tip from a worker at a Rent-A-Tire is what helped lead police to Otis McKane. The worker told investigators that he recognized McKane from the released photo and said he had just bought tires from him. Police began to follow McKane and arrested him without incident while he was driving near the intersection of Interstate 10 and FM 1516 on the East Side.
As police transported McKane to the jail for booking, McKane told reporters on-scene that he was upset because he wasn’t being allowed to see his son and took it out on someone who didn’t deserve it.
After McKane was in custody, investigators learned that he got married the morning after Marconi was killed. Security footage from the morning of Nov. 21, 2016, shows McKane entering the Bexar County Courthouse, where he obtained a license to marry and had the ceremony performed.
Family, friends and law enforcement officers from across the nation paid their final respects to SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi. on Nov. 28, 2016. A funeral procession that included police cruisers and motorcycles accompanied the hearse from Porter Loring Mortuary downtown to Community Bible Church at Loop 1604 and Gold Canyon Road, where a funeral Mass was celebrated.
A couple of weeks after his arrest, McKane agreed to a jailhouse interview with KSAT’s Katrina Webber.
“I’m not a person who wants to go out and do bad,” he said. “I don’t have time to be someone who wants to go around killing people. I want to learn and work.”
During the interview, he refused to talk about Marconi’s murder and said comments he made to reporters after his arrest were misconstrued.
He also spoke about how he lost his identification card and believed someone had been using it to impersonate him.
On Feb. 14, 2017, McKane was indicted on a capital murder charge in connection with the murder of Marconi. Almost a year later in Jan. of 2018, former District Attorney Nico LaHood said that his office would be seeking the death penalty in this case.
In early March 2020, McKane was set to stand trial. Jury selection was beginning when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Cadena-Reeves Justice Center to shut down. The trial was indefinitely postponed. During the fall and winter of 2020 jury selection resumed but would again be postponed because of the pandemic. In the spring of 2021 individual juror interviews were held one person at a time.
Trial Date Set
By April, a jury was selected and a trial date was set.
Five years after the crime, Otis McKane will stand trial for Benjamin Marconi’s murder on July 12 in Judge Ron Rangel’s courtroom. It’s the first death penalty case in Bexar County in more than five years.