SAN ANTONIO – Jurors in the capital murder trial of an ex-Border Patrol agent viewed surveillance and bodycam footage that showed the tense moments when he was followed, captured and arrested.
The footage from Texas Department of Public Safety troopers was the focus of testimony Tuesday on Day 2 of the trial of Juan David Ortiz, who is charged in the slayings of four women in Laredo in 2018.
Ortiz’s trial is being tried in Bexar County on a change of venue request from Ortiz’s defense team.
The first video jurors saw was from the patrol vehicle dash cam of DPS Trooper John Bradshaw, who was the first law enforcement officer to find Ortiz after he was identified as a suspect.
The video showed Ortiz’s Dodge pickup parked outside a gas station hours after a woman told DPS that he tried to kill her. The video showed Bradshaw encountering Ortiz as he walked out of a gas station.
“As soon as he exited the store, I gave him commands to put hands in the air,” Bradshaw said. “Eventually he takes off running southbound.”
Bodycam footage from another DPS trooper showed the moments when a team of law enforcement, including SWAT officers, found Ortiz hiding in the back of a pickup truck on the fourth floor of a hotel parking garage. The video showed the officers arresting Ortiz without incident.
Noel Gonzales, who assisted the lead investigator for the Webb County Sheriff’s Office, testified that Ortiz told him to “take your trophy shot,” a reference to when a hunter takes a picture of him and an animal he killed. Gonzales said he told Ortiz, “we don’t do that.”
The defendant could be heard on video telling officers where to locate the gun, which would later be identified as the murder weapon used in the killings.
“After opening the box, I see a pistol with one 12-round magazine,” Webb Co. Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Roberto Castillo said on the witness stand. The pistol and other physical items were labeled as evidence in the trial Tuesday outside of the jury’s presence.
According to investigators, Ortiz told them he killed the women because he wanted to “clean up the streets” of Laredo.
Other videos showed Ortiz being transported to a law enforcement facility for questioning.
Webb County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Federico Calderon, who was one of the lead detectives in the case, took the witness stand Tuesday afternoon. He told the jury about the first crime scene where Melissa Ramirez’s body was found.
“We found her face down in the dirt clutching a bag of M&Ms with head trauma,” Calderon testified.
Crime scene photos were shown to the jury but because of their graphic nature, KSAT didn’t show them in our coverage.
The trial is scheduled to resume at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. KSAT 12 will be streaming the entire proceedings, from gavel to gavel, on KSAT.com, KSAT Plus and YouTube.
If convicted of capital murder, Ortiz faces life in prison without parole because prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.