Otis McKane attacks bailiff after he learns of guilty capital murder verdict

McKane shot and killed Detective Benjamin Marconi in front of SAPD headquarters in 2016

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: KSAT is livestreaming the entire McKane trial, including the upcoming punishment phase. Sign up for the free Open Court newsletter to get updates.

After 25 minutes of deliberations, a Bexar County jury on Monday found Otis McKane guilty of capital murder.

After the verdict was read in the courtroom, McKane unbuttoned and untucked his shirt. Moments later, he elbowed a bailiff in the jaw who was attempting to detain him. Other officers immediately grabbed McKane, with one of the bailiffs yelling “Taser.” It’s not known, though, if the weapon was used. The bailiff who was struck returned to the courtroom minutes later and appeared to be OK. McKane hadn’t displayed any emotion in the trial prior to the attack other than when he cried when the interrogation video of him showed the defendant sobbing. The jury was not in the courtroom when the chaos occurred.

McKane shot San Antonio Police Department Det. Benjamin Marconi in front of police headquarters in 2016.

The jury will now go into the punishment phase of the capital murder trial, where McKane could be sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole. Those proceedings are expected to begin Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. and will be streamed live on KSAT.com.

The KSAT 12 6’O Clock News was live in the courtroom when Otis McKane attacked a bailiff.
The KSAT 12 6’O Clock News was live in the courtroom when Otis McKane attacked a bailiff.

The trial marked the first death penalty case in more than five years in Bexar County and was the biggest criminal trial in the county since jury trials reopened from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trial lasted 11 days over a three-week period in which the prosecution called on 55 witnesses to help present its case, while the defense only called one witness, who testified for about 15 minutes.

During closing arguments, the prosecution called the slaying “a public execution in front of Public Safety Headquarters” and that McKane “meant to f*** somebody’s life up.” The prosecution also pointed out that McKane numerous times admitted to killing Marconi.

The prosecution said that their witnesses and evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that McKane is guilty of the charge of capital murder because Marconi was a peace officer acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty.

The defense countered in closing arguments that even though he was in his police cruiser in the process of writing a traffic ticket, Marconi was texting about personal matters when he was shot. Defense attorney Joel Perez told jurors that if Marconi was conducting personal matters when he was shot, then McKane could not be charged with capital murder and therefore would not be subject to a possible death penalty sentence.

The jury disagreed.

“We are very pleased with the verdict. I know the family is as pleased and relieved,” said Joe Gonzales, Bexar County district attorney, after the verdict.

“We always felt like we had a strong case going forward. No comment on those charges,” Gonazles continued, also referencing the attack on the bailiff.

“It was a quick verdict. We’re here. We’re obviously disappointed,” said Joel Perez.

“We put the best evidence that we could. And, you know, sometimes juries take long. Sometimes they come back very quickly,” Perez continued.

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

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

It was later revealed that the morning after the shooting, the defendant 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.

Watch more daily coverage from the trial below:


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.