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

Surveillance video, pictures from inside of Econo Lodge Hotel shown in Day 6 of Otis McKane’s capital murder 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.

Surveillance video from a local hotel was used Monday by prosecutors in an effort to show the possible whereabouts of Otis McKane hours after the shooting death of SAPD Detective Benjamin Marconi.

The video, which was shown to jurors in Day 6 of a capital murder trial, was captured around 6:40 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2016, about seven hours after Marconi was shot execution-style in his patrol car in front of San Antonio Public Safety Headquarters.

McKane was the subject of massive manhunt for about 30 hours, and little was known about his whereabouts, except that he was at the Bexar County Courthouse the next day getting a marriage license.

Rarndaqur “Sonny” Patel, a prosecution witness, owned the Econo Lodge Hotel on Interstate 35 at the time of the booking. He told the jury that McKane’s wife, Christian Fields, booked a two-night stay at the hotel, beginning the night of Nov. 20.

Surveillance video showed Fields, a child and a man.

When asked if he recognized the man in the video in the courtroom, Patel said, “I do not.”

The prosecution stopped short of saying the man was McKane in the jury’s presence. But during a hearing when the jury had been removed, the defense objected to the video being presented in court because Patel couldn’t identify the man. Prosecutor Tamara Strauch countered by saying the video was relevant because McKane stayed at the hotel and that “flight is evidence of guilt” because McKane didn’t spend the night at home.

Photographs showing Fields’ drivers license, the paperwork for the hotel stay, and the interior of the room that the three stayed in were seen by the jury.

Prosecutors also focused on Fields during testimony from a homicide detective who interviewed her when McKane was arrested.

Sgt. Dwayne Branham said he went to the scene where McKane was arrested at Interstate 10 and FM 1516 the day after the shooting. He said when he approached Fields, she never asked why they were stopped and why there were so many police officers.

“Normally, when you interview a witness, when you introduce yourself and say, ‘I’m Detective Branhan of the San Antonio Police Department with the Homicide Unit,’ normally there’s bells that go off. ‘Why is this guy asking me questions when he works with homicide?’ And there was none of that from her at the time,” Branham testified.

Branham said that Fields consented to having her apartment, the hotel room and the contents and her car searched for evidence by police.

Brenda Oliva, an SAPD CSI officer, returned to the witness stand Monday.

Oliva testified about the various photos she took of McKane at the Homicide Unit office after he was arrested. When asked if McKane had any injuries on his body, Oliva said she only noticed a scratch on his right hand.

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

The trial will resume at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. You can watch every moment live on KSAT in this article.


About the Authors

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

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 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 and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

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