Jurors see video of detective’s slaying on first day of Otis McKane trial in San Antonio

McKane charged with capital murder in shooting death of SAPD Detective Benjamin Marconi

View this recap of Day 1 from the Otis McKane capital murder trial.
View this recap of Day 1 from the Otis McKane capital murder trial.

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Security footage captured in front of Public Safety Headquarters where a San Antonio police officer was shot and killed in his patrol unit shows the suspect accused of killing him at the scene of the crime, prosecutors said.

The clips were part of the evidence presented on the opening day of the capital murder trial of Otis McKane, who is charged with killing San Antonio Police Detective Benjamin Marconi in November 2016.

The video, according to the prosecution, shows McKane pull up in his car behind Marconi’s unit, walk to the driver’s side window of the unit and fire two shots into the police cruiser.

Another clip shows the suspect walking into Headquarters following the incident.

The 379th District Court where the trial is being tried was packed, and the mood was somber and tense, with members of Marconi’s family in attendance.

Prosecutor Tamara Strauch delivered the opening statement for the state, giving the jury a timeline of the evidence that will be presented during the trial.

“‘It felt good to shoot him.’ Those words came out of this defendant’s mouth,” Strauch told jurors, describing what McKane told a police detective after the shooting.
“‘It felt good to shoot him.’ Those words came out of this defendant’s mouth,” Strauch told jurors, describing what McKane told a police detective after the shooting.

Strauch told jurors that Marconi “never saw it coming” and “didn’t have a chance to react” when he was shot twice in the head from behind.

“‘It felt good to shoot him.’ Those words came out of this defendant’s mouth,” Strauch told jurors about what McKane told police while he was being patted down at the Magistrate’s Office Detention Center after he was arrested for the shooting.

The prosecutor said several witnesses of the shooting will take the stand during the trial. One of them is Ricky Martinez, the motorist who Marconi pulled over in front of Public Safety Headquarters moments before the officer was shot.

“Ricky says he gets out of his car, he goes over to the officer and asks Detective Marconi if he’s OK. And Detective Marconi cannot respond,” Strauch told jurors.

Other witnesses scheduled to testify are Alexandria and Jennifer Patterson, a mother and daughter from Luling who Strauch said witnessed the shooting.

“They’ll tell you they heard shots. Alexandria will tell you that she got a good look at the shooter. The shooter then runs and gets back in his vehicle, the black car and takes off,” Strauch said.

Strauch also told jurors about what McKane told reporters while he was escorted by police prior to being transferred to the magistrate’s office. The reporter asked McKane why he said it was Marconi’s fault that McKane couldn’t see his son.

“‘I’ve been through several custody battles, and I was upset at the situation, and I lashed out at somebody who didn’t deserve it. I’m sorry,’” Strauch quoted McKane during her 1 hour and 3-minute opening statement.

The defense opted not to make an opening statement and conducted very little cross examination, but they did dispute some of the 911 calls presented as evidence. One call they disputed was a call made the day after the shooting from a man who recognized McKane and his vehicle. The defense claimed thecall was not an emergency call to 911 and was hearsay. Judge Ron Rangel ruled that call could be revisited when that witness takes the stand.

Another 911 call came from a witness who reported the shooting.

Caller: “It’s at Santa Rosa and Nueva, (inaudible)... a man just shot a cop.”

Police Dispatcher: “A man? You said a man just shot a cop?”

Caller: “Yeah”

The jury in the capital murder trial of Otis McKane are shown a video from moments after SAPD Detective Benjamin Marconi was fatally gunned down.
The jury in the capital murder trial of Otis McKane are shown a video from moments after SAPD Detective Benjamin Marconi was fatally gunned down.

Another video that was shown to the jury was from the dash camera of Marconi’s SAPD vehicle.

The defense at first objected to the video being shown, saying that since the video was of Marconi’s final entire shift, the state couldn’t pick and choose what parts to show during open court. Rangel overruled the defense objection and the video was shown.

The video was from a camera angle that showed looking out from the front end of Marconi’s vehicle. The video shows the vehicle that Marconi had pulled over and just minutes later people running toward the vehicle following the shooting.

One of the witnesses to take the stand Monday was Kevin Wilkinson, who was working the front desk at Public Safety Headquarters when Marconi was killed.

Wilkinson, a service agent for SAPD, testified that McKane came into the building that morning and wanted to file a report because he hadn’t seen his son in a while. McKane left when an officer wasn’t immediately available to take the report.

Wilkinson testified that he could not identify a suspect from a photo lineup the morning of the shooting but was able to the following day.

Videos and 911 calls were part of the evidence presented by the prosecution in the trial of Otis McKane.
Videos and 911 calls were part of the evidence presented by the prosecution in the trial of Otis McKane.

The case is the biggest criminal trial in Bexar County since jury trials reopened from the pandemic in March 2020. The trial marks the first death penalty case in more than five years in Bexar County.

Marconi was 50 years old, a father and grandfather and was in the police force for more than 20 years when he was killed. He was working in the Special Victims Unit investigating domestic violence cases.

The trial will resume Tuesday at 12:30 p.m and is expected to last about two weeks.

In addition to Strauch, the prosecution team includes lawyers Mario Del Prado and Jessica Schulze. The defense team consists of lawyers Raymond Fuchs, Joel Perez and Daniel De La Garza.


About the Authors:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with more than 12 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter.