11 impactful moments from the Otis McKane trial so far

Relive memorable moments from day one to the day the verdict was read

SAN ANTONIOEditor’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.

There were many memorable moments during the 11-day guilty/innocent phase of the Otis McKane capital murder trial.

McKane was found guilty Monday of the execution-style murder of SAPD Det. Benjamin Marconi in 2016. Following the verdict, the trial turned to the punishment phase, which will determine whether McKane is sentenced to death.

Proceedings on the punishment phase are on recess until Monday. Here are the most impactful moments from the trial so far.

While the punishment phase of the trial is on recess until Monday, we decided to take a look back at the most impactful moments from the trial so far.

Juror runs out of the courtroom

On the second day of trial, a juror left the courtroom twice during proceedings. The first time, the juror left after a video was shown from inside Marconi’s patrol unit the moment the detective was shot.

Members of Marconi’s family were also very emotional, as some turned away during the video while others watched.

The juror left again later in the day as well and appeared to be sick.

Gripping testimony from eyewitnesses of the shooting

One by one, witnesses took the stand to relive what they saw the day Marconi was killed. They included Ricky Lee Martinez, the man Marconi pulled over in front of Public Safety Headquarters.

Jennifer and Alexandria Patterson delivered some the trial’s most emotional testimony.

“What the f***! He’s got a gun, Mom. He’s got a gun?” Jennifer Patterson testified about what her daughter said that morning.

The two were on their way to brunch when they noticed a man holding a gun walk up to Marconi’s patrol unit.

“I saw his eyes and I knew it was him immediately,” Alexandria Patterson told jurors. When asked how certain she was about McKane being the man in the picture, she said, “100%.”

Otis McKane gets married amid manhunt

Before the trial began, KSAT had reported that McKane got married one day after the shooting. More details about McKane and Chanel Fields going to get a marriage license was revealed during the trial. Video was shown from inside the Bexar County Courthouse, where McKane and Fields walked in through security the morning of Nov. 21, 2016, and then head toward the Bexar County Clerk’s Office.

NASA expert takes the stand

On Day 7 of the trial, prosecutors called on NASA image analyst expert David Bretz to the stand.

Bretz testified how the same image technology and techniques used to investigate the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion in 2003 were applied to look into the shooting death of Marconi.

Bretz said he was able to sharpen, enlarge and clear up images that showed McKane entering Public Safety Headquarters, his car outside the building at two times that morning. He also showed the jury an image that the expert witness claimed was the defendant holding a pistol behind the detective’s head. While the enhancement of that image showed something similar to a tattoo, Brentz couldn’t say for sure that it matched a tattoo pictured in one of McKane’s photos taken when he was arrested.

NASA image analyst testifies in Otis McKane trial. (Copyright 2021 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

Arrest surveillance video shown

The afternoon of Nov. 21, 2016, the San Antonio Police Department SWAT team moved in on McKane and arrested him near Interstate 10 and FM 1516.

The arrest, which was called a “high-risk” operation, was captured through aerial surveillance by a Texas Department of Public Safety airplane.

Sgt. Steven Miller, of the DPS Aircraft Operations Division, testified that he was the camera operator in the plane that conducted the aerial surveillance.

McKane cries in court

Throughout most of the trial, McKane showed very little to no emotion until day 9. While watching his interrogation video, McKane broke down crying as he was seeing himself talk about his son and custody issues.

Otis McKane breaks down in court while watching video of himself talking about his child and custody issues. (Copyright 2021 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

The confession

In the same interrogation video, after trying to lie to lead Det. Mark Duke at first, McKane eventually confesses to shooting Marconi.

“I apologize to the officer killed, the family,” McKane said.

This wasn’t the only time McKane confessed. While he was escorted by police to a vehicle for transport to the magistrate’s office, he told members of the media that he “lashed out on someone who didn’t deserve it.”

Emotional testimony from doctor who treated Marconi

Right before the state rested its case, U.S. Air Force Maj. Dr. Erica Simon, chief resident at the emergency room at Brooke Army Medical Center, where Marconi was taken for treatment testified.

Simon cried when she told jurors that Marconi’s vital signs were not good, he never had a heart rhythm and even if he was resuscitated, his neurological outlook was not good.

“Right about this time, I looked down and my feet are warm because I am standing in a pool of blood,” she said tearfully. “There are no signs of life.”

Defense rests after calling only one witness

In a surprise move on day 11, the defense only called one witness, Duke, to the stand.

The defense was trying to prove that 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.

Guilty Verdict

It took the jury only 25 minutes to deliberate. Judge Ron Rangel read the verdict to McKane and he was found guilty of capital murder.

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

The reading of the verdict led to an incident those in the courtroom and viewers watching live online won’t soon forget.

McKane attacks bailiff

Mere minutes after the verdict was read and the jury was escorted out, McKane started to take off his tie, unbutton and untuck his shirt.

Deputy Isidro Gonzalez, a court bailiff, asked McKane to stand up twice, which the defendant refused to do. Then all of a sudden, McKane jumped up and elbowed Gonzalez in the face.

Several deputies rushed to take McKane down. KSAT 12 was live when the incident took place and the video of it would be used by the prosecution on day one of the punishment phase.

The punishment phase will resume at 9 a.m. Monday. McKane faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

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About the Authors

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.

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

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