DAY 10 LIVE: Trial of Otis McKane, accused of murdering SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi

KSAT will livestream the proceedings gavel to gavel

Otis McKane in Day 9 of his capital murder trial.
Otis McKane in Day 9 of his capital murder trial. (KSAT)

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>>Watch a video recap of Day 9 of the Otis McKane trial here<<

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE:

The state rested its case Friday afternoon in the capital murder trial of Otis McKane, who is charged with the November 2016 fatal shooting of SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi.

The prosecution called on 55 witnesses to help present its case over a 10-day period.

The defense is scheduled to present its case Monday. Defense attorneys told KSAT they expect to conclude Monday.

PREVIOUSLY:

The jury in the capital murder trial of Otis McKane saw the defendant visibly emotional on Thursday as his police interrogation video was shown in court.

“I’m sorry, I apologize. That was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life, sir,” McKane, charged in the execution-like killing of SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi, said in the tape. “I wanted to make the police station feel the burn I had in my heart.”

McKane was seen crying in the courtroom when the video played the moment SAPD Homicide Det. Mark Duke asked McKane about issues surrounding the custody of his son. Duke also asked the suspect what happened when he tried to get help.

The video started with more than 1.5 hours of McKane in the interrogation room alone.

The rest of the video is expected to be shown to jurors on Friday, which starts at 9 a.m. You can watch every moment live in the video player above.

McKane could face the death penalty if he is found guilty. The trial marks the first death penalty case in more than five years in Bexar County.

Erica Hernandez reports on Day 10 of the Otis McKane trial
Erica Hernandez reports on Day 10 of the Otis McKane trial

Live updates from the courtroom

Follow along live with KSAT 12 courthouse reporter Erica Hernandez, who is Tweeting from the courtroom.

Day 9

The jury in the capital murder trial of Otis McKane saw perhaps the most damaging testimony on Thursday when his police interrogation video was shown in court.

SAPD Homicide Det. Mark Duke testified that he interviewed McKane after he was arrested on Nov. 21, 2016. He was arrested in the killing of SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi outside of Public Safety Headquarters, which happened the day prior to his arrest.

Duke, who was the lead detective in the case, described his demeanor during his interview with McKane as “very soft and non-confrontational” because he wanted to “make him feel as comfortable as he can and be non-judgmental so that he can tell the truth.”

During the interview, Duke learned that McKane hadn’t seen his son in two years. When they got to the subject about issues seeing his son and what happens when McKane tries to get help, McKane can be seen crying in the video. That causes the defendant to weep in court.

After Duke told McKane that police had an arrest warrant, the suspect admitted to the slaying.

“I apologize to the officer killed, the family,” McKane said.

The rest of the video is expected to be shown to jurors on Friday. Trial begins at 9 a.m.

Watch: Recap from Day 9 of the Otis McKane trial
Watch: Recap from Day 9 of the Otis McKane trial

Read more: Otis McKane cries in court, admits to killing SAPD Det. Marconi in police interrogation video

Day 8

Members of the San Antonio Police Department’s SWAT team on Wednesday gave details on the events leading up to the capture of Otis McKane, who is on trial in the execution-style slaying of SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi.

SAPD Officer Daniel Elborne said the entire SWAT team was involved in the “high-risk” operation in the hours after Marconi was gunned down outside Public Safety Headquarters on Nov. 20, 2016.

Officers conducted surveillance on a car that McKane was believed to be in near the Lincoln Courts on the West Side, where he and his wife lived, Elborne said. Then, a Department of Public Safety airplane that was conducting surveillance for SAPD located a Buick that McKane may have been in at a convenience store on the far East Side.

Aeriel surveillance showed a man who fit McKane’s description get into the Buick and leave the store. That’s when SAPD moved in and arrested him, according to Christopher Zygmont, another member of the SWAT team.

“Very minimal force (was used), and the suspect was compliant at all times,” Elborne testified. He added that McKane didn’t complain of any injuries, didn’t resist arrest or make threats toward officers.

Read more: Arrest of Otis McKane a ‘high-risk operation,’ SWAT officers testify

Day 7

A NASA image analyst testified on Tuesday that the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office asked him to enhance and analyze photographs tied to the slaying of SAPD. Det. Benjamin Marconi.

David Bretz, who has been with NASA for 25 years, said he was able to sharpen, enlarge and clear up images that showed Otis McKane, accused of fatally shooting Marconi, in and around Public Safety Headquarters on Nov. 20, 2016.

He also showed the jury an image that the expert witness claimed was McKane holding a pistol behind the Marconi’s head.

While the enhancement of that image showed something similar to a tattoo, Brentz couldn’t say for sure that it matched a tattoo pictured in one of McKane’s photos taken when he was arrested.

“There appears to be something there. It’s just unclear what that is,” he said.

Read more: Prosecutors call on NASA to help build case against man charged in SAPD detective’s shooting death

Day 6

Surveillance from the hotel where Otis McKane’s wife, Christian Fields, booked a two-night stay after the shooting of SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi was shown during day 6 of McKane’s murder trial.

In the video, Fields, a boy and a man are seen in the motel, but the prosecution stopped short of identifying the man as McKane in front of the jury, as the hotel manager could not positively confirm the defendant.

Prosecutor Tamara Strauch countered by saying the video was relevant because McKane stayed at the hotel and that “flight is evidence of guilt” because he didn’t spend the night at home.

The video was used by prosecutors in an effort to show his whereabouts amid SAPD’s manhunt for Marconi’s killer.

Photographs shown to the jury included Fields’ driver’s license, the paperwork for the hotel stay and the interior of the motel room.

Another witness, Sgt. Dwayne Branham, testified that he spoke with Fields after McKane’s arrest. He said that she never questioned why they were stopped.

Read more: Prosecution tries to fill gaps between Marconi’s slaying and McKane’s arrest with surveillance video

Day 5

Otis McKane “was in a good mood” when he went to the Bexar County Courthouse to get a marriage license the day after he was accused of fatally shooting SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi, a witness testified.

Joyce Ann Mendoza, who issued the marriage license, testified that on Nov. 21, 2016, McKane and Christian Chanel Fields asked for a waiver to get married that same day, which they did.

The jury in McKane’s murder trial on Friday saw surveillance footage of the couple from inside the courthouse.

As he was getting married, San Antonio police were on the hunt for the person who killed the detective outside Public Safety Headquarters.

SAPD Lt. Brent Bell, who was Marconi’s supervisor when he was killed and one of the lead investigators on the officer-involved shooting team, said they “believed the threat was ongoing.”

“We knew of a pattern of other officers being targeted, (and) until we apprehended that person, we didn’t know if he would do it again,” Bell told jurors.

Read more: Jury sees video of Otis McKane getting a marriage license the day after SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi was fatally shot

Day 4

Two San Antonio police officers who responded to the shooting of SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi on the morning of Nov. 20, 2016, testified about the chaotic scene outside Public Safety Headquarters that morning.

They knew one of their own was injured, but they didn’t know who or the extent of the injuries just yet. Still, they said they sprung into action to help any way they could.

The jury also saw video from both Officers Frances Ochoa and Gustavo Segura’s body cameras when they arrived at the scene.

“Oh My God, Oh My God,” Ochoa is heard saying multiple times. She then went to Brooke Army Medical Center, as she is a Family Assistance Officer volunteer for SAPD, to comfort the family.

She said she told Marconi’s family members of the officer’s death and then helped gather his uniform and other belongings.

“There was blood everywhere,” she said, adding that the mood was “sad, everybody was crying.”

The officers were two witnesses who took the stand on Thursday for day 4 of Otis McKane’s murder trial.

Thursday’s line of questioning for witnesses and SAPD officers seemed to aim at establishing that Marconi was without a doubt working at the time of his death, which would support the indictment that the crime happened while the officer was in the line of duty.

McKane could face the death penalty if he is found guilty.

The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Friday.

Read more: SAPD officer tells jury about having to inform Det. Marconi’s family about his death

Day 3

A mother and daughter who witnessed the shooting of SAPD. Det. Benjamin Marconi were among those who testified in the trial of Otis McKane on Wednesday.

Jennifer Patterson and her daughter, Alexandria, were on their way to brunch on the morning of Nov. 20, 2016, when Jennifer said something caught their attention on Santa Rosa Avenue.

“What the f***! He’s got a gun, Mom. He’s got a gun?” Jennifer Patterson testified about what her daughter said that morning. “I immediately knew what she was talking about. There was a man who had a gun, and something was going to happen.”

They fled the area in fear for their safety but then returned to the scene, where the mother found Marconi.

“We ran to the officer’s car, and told my daughter, ‘Go sit over there.’ It was obvious by a hole in his temple that there was nothing that could be done for him,” she said.

A Via bus driver who witnessed the shooting also took the stand for the second day, saying he saw McKane run to his car after the gunfire. He said that he identified McKane out of a lineup.

Another prosecution witness, Mike Flores, said he was the first person to find Marconi injured. “I looked inside and saw officer hunched over and saw blood,” Flores said. He testified that after hearing gunshots, he saw McKane run off into his vehicle.

Read more: ‘What the f***! He’s got a gun, Mom.’: Mother, daughter describe witnessing fatal shooting of SAPD detective

Day 2

A witness of the slaying of SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi delivered gripping testimony during day two of Otis McKane’s murder trial.

“I was scared,” Ricky Lee Martinez said as he testified. He had been pulled over by the officer in front of public safety headquarters just moments before the shooting in November 2016.

“I could see him laying there and saw blood coming out. I (froze) and stuff. I wanted to help but I was afraid to help,” Martinez said.

Earlier Tuesday, video from inside Marconi’s patrol unit that showed the moment he was killed was shown in court. That led to a juror leaving the courtroom and visible emotion from members of Marconi’s family.

The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Read more: ‘I was afraid to help’: Witness who found slain SAPD detective delivers gripping testimony in second day of Otis McKane trial

Day 1

The biggest criminal trial in Bexar County since jury trials reopened from the pandemic started Monday.

Prosecutor Tamara Strauch delivered the opening statement for the state in the murder trial of Otis McKane, accused of fatally shooting SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi in 2016 in front of San Antonio Police Department Public Safety Headquarters.

Strauch said several witnesses of the shooting will take the stand during the trial. She also said witnesses who heard McKane’s admission to the crime will also testify.

The defense opted not to make an opening statement.

The jury also saw several videotape clips, including one of what the prosecution said was McKane opening fire on Marconi. Another clip showed McKane walking into headquarters following the incident.

The trial marks the first death penalty case in more than five years in Bexar County.

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

Background

On the morning of Nov. 20, 2016, Marconi was sitting in his patrol car outside SAPD Public Safety Headquarters writing a ticket when someone in a black car pulled up behind him. The driver walked up to the police unit and shot Marconi twice in the head as he sat in the driver’s seat.

A massive manhunt ensued and a tip led police to arrest Otis McKane 30 hours later.

It was later revealed that the morning after the shooting, McKane walked into the Bexar County Courthouse and was married as police searched for him.

Security footage showed him entering the courthouse, where he obtained the marriage license.

Soon after McKane was arrested, he told reporters that he lashed out because of a custody dispute with his son. Later, in an interview with KSAT reporter Katrina Webber, McKane said his comments regarding the shooting were misconstrued and refused to talk about Marconi or the case.

The trial for McKane was expected to begin in March 2020 but during jury selection, the pandemic forced all in-person hearings to be put on hold.

After a delay of more than a year, the trial will start on July 12 in the 379th District Court, presided by Judge Ron Rangel.

The prosecution team consists of lawyers Mario Del Prado, Jessica Schulze, and Tamara Strauch.

The defense team consists of lawyers Raymond Fuchs, Joel Perez and Daniel De La Garza.

This is the first death penalty case to take place in Bexar County in more than five years.

Have more questions? Ask here.

Catch up on past stories in the McKane case:

KSAT will be covering every day of this trial with live coverage of the proceedings and daily online recaps. To follow along with the trial, sign up for our “Open Court” Newsletter by submitting your email below.


About the Authors:

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.