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

Jury views videos from first responders minutes after slaying on Day 4 of Otis McKane trial

SAN ANTONIO – Editor’s note: KSAT is livestreaming the entire trial of Otis McKane here. Get a daily recap like this one sent to your inbox by signing up for the free Open Court newsletter.

When San Antonio Police Officer Frances Ochoa heard “officer down” on her police radio the morning of Nov. 20, 2016, she got into her patrol car and drove from the Central Substation to nearby Public Safety Headquarters as fast as she could, she testified in day four of the trial of Otis McKane on Thursday.

“I saw an officer on the ground. I didn’t know who it was, but it was one of us,” Ochoa told jurors. “It wasn’t good.”

In all the chaos that ensued at the scene, Ochoa wanted to know the identity of the officer who was shot.

While the wounded officer was on the stretcher to be transported to a hospital, Ochoa got the officer’s badge number, went to her patrol vehicle to run it and find out who it was.

“What? It’s Ben Marconi! I ran out and I started telling everybody because no one knew who he was,” Ochoa testified.

The 17-year member of the San Antonio Police Department then drove to San Antonio Military Medical Center, where Marconi was pronounced dead.

Ochoa and other officers then helped to gather the fallen officer’s uniform and other belongings.

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

KSAT court reporter Erica Hernandez has the latest from Day 4 of the Otis McKane trial.
KSAT court reporter Erica Hernandez has the latest from Day 4 of the Otis McKane trial.

Ochoa went to the hospital not only to provide support for her fellow wounded officer but for his family as well.

As a Family Assistance Officer volunteer for SAPD, Ochoa provides family members comfort in a time of need.

Her services would be needed that day as Marconi’s family began to arrive not knowing their loved one’s fate.

Ochoa said the first one she met with was Marconi’s sister.

“When she was running in, I stopped her and asked what she knew. I had to give her the news that he passed away,” Ochoa told the jury.

Marconi’s son, Dane, and his girlfriend soon arrived, only knowing that the officer was shot.

“I told him his dad didn’t make it,” Ochoa said.

Marconi’s daughter, JC, arrived next and asked for her brother.

“She’s asking him if he’s OK, and they’re crying, holding on to each other, Ochoa said.

The jury also saw a video from Ochoa’s body camera when she arrived at the scene of the shooting.

“Oh My God, Oh My God” Ochoa is heard saying multiple times.

Her video and that of Officer Gustavo Segura of the Downtown Bike Patrol Unit showed a chaotic scene, ambulances and police officers at the scene.

Segura described the scene as “Frantic, controlled ... a lot of emotion as well. Very, very emotional,” he told jurors.

Segura said he helped set up crime scene tape and did what he could to assist.

Thursday’s line of questioning for witnesses at the scene and other SAPD officers seemed to aim at establishing that Marconi was without 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. According to Texas penal code, one of the qualifications for a capital murder charge in Texas is that the crime was committed while a peace officer was “acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty” and that the person who committed the murder knew the person was a peace officer at the time of the murder.

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

The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Friday. You can watch every moment live on KSAT in this article.

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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.