The Bexar County sheriff’s deputy who was attacked in court by a man who had just been found guilty of killing a San Antonio police officer testified Tuesday in the opening day of the punishment phase of the defendant’s capital murder trial.
“I had a feeling that he was going to fight us ... because he was taking off his clothes,” Isidro Gonzalez, a bailiff in the 379th District Court, said on the witness stand.
The jury on Monday deliberated for only 25 minutes in finding Otis McKane guilty of fatally shooting San Antonio Police Det. Benjamin Marconi execution-style in his patrol car in front of Public Safety Headquarters on Nov. 20, 2016. The jury will soon decide if McKane will be sentenced to die by lethal injection or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The jury was not in the courtroom for the chaos but was shown the video during Gonzalez’s testimony. McKane was in the courtroom for the proceedings.
Gonzalez said that throughout the past 1.5 years that he has been escorting McKane to and from the courtroom for pre-trial hearings, jury selection and the trial, McKane never gave him any problems.
“It’s been very professional. Never had an issue with him,” Gonzalez said.
But that all changed moments after the guilty verdict when Gonzalez noticed that McKane took off his tie, unbuttoned his shirt and untucked it from his pants, calling it unusual “because he doesn’t change here.”
Gonzalez testified that he asked McKane twice to get up out of his chair so that he could be escorted out of the courtroom, but the defendant refused. When McKane finally stood up, the bailiff tried to put the handcuffs on McKane, and that’s when the defendant attacked him.
“And I see his elbow coming at me,” Gonzalez said. Seconds later, a group of other law enforcement officers help Gonzalez get McKane to the ground.
Gonzalez testified that McKane fell to the floor face down, with his arms under his body. McKane refused to be handcuffed, but with the help of the other officers, Gonzalez and another bailiff finally handcuffed the defendant.
Gonzalez said the elbow to the face at first hurt, but he was focused on “getting control of Mr. McKane” because he “was afraid that he could get a weapon from one of us.”
The bailiff said he and another officer had to practically drag McKane to a vehicle so that he could be transported to the Bexar County Jail. He said that no officers struck McKane during the incident.
Gonzalez’s supervisor, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, said the attack on his deputy “just shows the character of this person that we’re dealing with. He has no regard for human life.”
Salazar, who appeared on the KSAT 12 6 O’Clock News on Tuesday, said that he and Marconi were friends and that he was an SAPD officer when the slaying happened.
The sheriff said the bailiffs “did a great job” of getting McKane into custody.
The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday.