Bexar County preparing to handle death penalty trial of alleged Border Patrol serial killer

Juan David Ortiz charged in the murders of four women in Webb County

SAN ANTONIO – The trial for a former Border Patrol Agent accused in the murders of four women has been moved from Webb County to Bexar County.

Juan David Ortiz is charged with capital murder of multiple persons.

Ortiz’s alleged murder spree began in Sept. of 2018.

Melissa Ramirez, Claudia Anne Luera, Griselda Canut and Jannelle Ortiz were all found dead with gunshot wounds within weeks of each other off I-35, north of Laredo.

In a pretrial hearing Wednesday morning, Ortiz’s defense team asked for a change of venue and it was granted.

“Most important thing here is that the evidence doesn’t change,” Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said. “The facts are the same. The law is the same. It’s just a different jury. So we’re excited and looking forward to the opportunity to present this case to the people there in San Antonio.”

Both defense attorneys in the case, Joel Perez and Raymond Fuchs are from San Antonio and previously were the defense team for Otis McKane last summer.

According to Webb County court records, Ortiz is expected to be transferred to Bexar Co. jail on Oct. 17. and jury selection is scheduled to begin on Oct. 21.

A case of this magnitude which is expected to take up to three weeks could present some problems for Bexar County.

“So unfortunately, this may not be the kind of case where this three week trial is going to be in one exclusive place, but it may just have to be moved day by day, depending on what judge can can make their courtroom available for that trial,” Bexar County Criminal District Administrative Judge Ron Rangel said.

Rangel did emphasize that regardless Bexar County will accommodate the best they can.

“I think it’s important that we do do our part, you know, as a good neighbor to other counties to ensure that we provide them the resources that they need to to do that trial as effective as effectively and efficiently as they can,” Rangel said.

Up to 300 jurors will be summoned to take part in the jury selection process. Once the 12 jurors are seated the trial will begin, which will be sometime in November.

Ortiz is facing life in prison without parole or the death penalty if found guilty.


The border patrol serial killer: South Texas Crime Stories

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.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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