A man recalled to a jury the moments he heard gunshots and finding San Antonio Police Detective Benjamin Marconi slain in his patrol car.
Ricky Lee Martinez’s gripping testimony came in the second day of the capital murder trial of Otis McKane, who is charged in the shooting death of Marconi in November 2016.
Martinez, who was visibly nervous on the witness stand, said he had been pulled over for a traffic violation by Marconi that morning. Driving a Pontiac Firebird to visit the River Walk with his pregnant girlfriend and their three children, Martinez was parked in front of Public Safety headquarters — in front of Marconi’s cruiser — just before the shooting.
Martinez said when he asked Marconi why he pulled him over, the detective told him he would get back to him and went to his patrol car.
Moments later, Martinez testified, he saw a black car pull up behind Marconi’s police unit, and witnessed the fatal encounter unfold in his rearview mirror.
“I realized that a Black male went to a cop car and shots (were) fired,” Martinez said. “I heard like two shots nearby, and it was a Black male who shot the officer. I was scared.”
Martinez, who said the incident still traumatizes him to this day, testified that he was in fear for his family’s lives and told them “to stay down and don’t move and don’t say nothing” and thought about “my family and I not making it.”
The prosecution witness told jurors that the gunman ran back to his car and drove past an arm post and through a parking lot and eventually drove away. That’s when Martinez decided to check on Marconi.
Martinez said he approached the police cruiser with his hands in the air and saw the driver’s door open.
“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.
Martinez said that the officer was bleeding from the neck and saw that his driver’s license was bent in Marconi’s hand. He said that moments later, police officers arrived and he told them what had happened.
Martinez’s testimony came on the same day that a juror twice left the courtroom.
The juror first left the proceedings after a video from inside Marconi’s patrol unit that showed the moment when Marconi was shot was shown in court.
Members of Marconi’s family were also very emotional, as some turned away during the video and others watched. Some could be heard crying, according to KSAT court reporter Erica Hernandez, who is live Tweeting from the courtroom.
After the video was shown, Judge Ron Rangel ordered a short recess.
A second video was then brought into evidence of a reverse angle of what took place inside the vehicle. The defense objected to showing the video, saying it was prejudicial, which led to a tense debate.
“One of the jurors became physically ill and had to leave the courtroom and had to get some kind of recovery to her before she could return. So, the idea that this wouldn’t be prejudicial is ridiculous,” said defense attorney Ramon Fuchs.
“This video that we’re talking about shows the occurrence as it’s actually happening,” countered prosecutor Tamara Strauch. Rangel allowed the video to be shown for demonstrative evidence purposes, which he said makes it easier for the jury to understand and see what happened.
About two hours later, the same juror left the courtroom again when Rangel called for another recess. A courthouse cleaning crew was seen mopping up an area inside the courtroom and a bailiff picking up water bottles that belonged to members of the jury.
McKane could face the death penalty if he is found guilty.
The trial will resume Wednesday at 9 a.m. You can watch every moment live on KSAT in this article.