Ex-Border Patrol agent cries while phone call from him to wife is heard in court

State, defense rest their cases in capital murder trial of Juan David Ortiz; closing arguments scheduled for Wednesday followed by jury deliberations

SAN ANTONIO – For the first time in the capital murder trial of an ex-Border Patrol agent, Juan David Ortiz showed some emotion.

On Tuesday, Ortiz started to break down and cry when a phone call he made while incarcerated in the Webb County Jail to his wife was heard in court.

Ortiz is charged with the shooting deaths of four women in Laredo in 2018. His trial is being tried in Bexar County on a change of venue.

The phone call was made a little over a month after Ortiz was arrested for the slayings of four women who were known to be prostitutes.

Ortiz is heard talking with his wife and children, and that’s when he put his head down and began to cry. A bailiff could be seen handing the defendant a tissue.

WATCH: Highlights from Day 7 of Juan David Ortiz trial

During the call, Ortiz and his wife talked about a future jail visit, and he talked with his young children.

Ortiz’s wife consoled the defendant about being separated from his family and told him, “You’re doing all that you can in the situation that you are.”

She added, “I would never say anything negative about you,” and “we’re on the same page … regardless of your situation.”

Ortiz also told his wife he is concerned about what he said during his interrogation interview with investigators.

“I’m very concerned about statement I made. There is no evidence. Just that confession on tape,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz told his wife how he was going to ask his lawyers to suppress the video of his confession, but that was played in court last week.

The jury didn’t see Ortiz’s reaction to the phone call since it was played outside of the panel’s presence. Later on, jurors were able to hear portions of it.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the state rested its case, and the defense did as well without calling one witness.

The two sides will make final arguments Wednesday when court convenes at 9 a.m., and then the jury will decide whether Juan David Ortiz is guilty or not guilty of capital murder.

If Ortiz is found guilty of capital murder, he will automatically be sentenced to life in prison without parole since the Webb County District Attorney’s Office decided not to seek the death penalty.

Learn more about this case by watching KSAT’s exclusive “Open Court: The Trial of Juan David Ortiz on KSAT.com, KSAT Plus or on KSAT’s YouTube channel.

More trial coverage:


About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 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.