Update: Jury finds former Border Patrol agent guilty of capital murder
LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - Update: After more than four years, the families of Melissa Ramirez, Claudine Anne Luera, Guiselda Hernandez Cantu and Janelle Ortiz have received justice.
The jury found former Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz, the man who killed the four women guilty for his crimes.
Following the verdict, the defense called for a jury pull, in which each juror was asked to share their verdict, which was unanimously guilty.
This brought on a strong reaction from not only the families of the victims but also the family of Ortiz.
Following the verdict reading, nine impact statements were read out loud to Ortiz by the families of the four victims.
Each shared their heartbreak from losing their loved one to this horrific crime and some even said they forgave Ortiz for what he did.
Janelle Ortiz’s mother, Elva Enriquez said it’s the closure they have all been waiting for.
“It hurt. I have had my mother murdered, my father was murdered and now my sister is murdered. I have nothing. It hurt. But it felt good and maybe it will do him good to know he is forgiven, maybe he can forgive himself and he come to terms with what he has done because we all have to”, said Guiselda Cantu’s brother, Joey Cantu.
KGNS spoke to the defense following the verdict reading and they say it was a difficult case with a lot of incriminating evidence. They tried to show the jury that some of the evidence was obtained in violation of the law, but the district attorney made an effective presentation.
Ortiz now faces life in prison without parole.
In the courtroom it was mentioned that Ortiz will be filing an appeal.
Below is the last updated version of this story:
The start of closing arguments in the trial of Juan David Ortiz was delayed due to questions about the case.
On Wednesday, the hearing began shortly after 12 p.m. despite being previously scheduled for 9 a.m.
Presiding Judge Oscar Hale started the court by reading the jury instructions before the closing arguments.
DA Assistant Karina Rios began the closing arguments by defining several terms in the jury instructions initially read to the jurors by Judge Hale.
Rios continued by showing the jurors a timeline of the murders of Melissa Ramirez, Claudine Luera, Guiselda Hernandez aka Cantu and Janelle Ortiz.
Rios continued by showing Ramirez’s, Luera’s and Ortiz’s cause of death by shooting; however, Cantu’s was by striking her with an unknown object and then a shooting.
Rios continued by telling jurors the reasoning behind Ortiz’s action were said by Ortiz during the interrogation when he claimed he “was cleaning up the streets.”
The state said Ortiz’s confession was done “freely” and “voluntarily”, it was also obtained “without promise, coercion, or intimidation.”
Rio told the jurors to evaluate Ortiz’s interrogation with the officers, the search, and the testimony of Erika Pena the woman who said she escaped from Ortiz the night of his arrest.
Meanwhile, one of Ortiz’s defense attorneys’, Raymond Fuchs, told jurors some of the evidence was “illegal” especially the search of Ortiz’s truck, the process of Ortiz interrogation and the search warrant.
Ortiz’s second attorney, Joel Perez, reiterated on the amendments and on Ortiz’s rights.
Perez addressed Ortiz’s mental health and the pills he was taking.
District Attorney Isidro Alaniz countered and told jurors fought back the defense’s statement on the search and dismissed their claims saying it was illegal.
Alaniz went through the final moments of all four women and at the end, the jurors were excused and now deliberations have begun in the case.
You can watch the full gavel to gavel coverage on KSAT’s livestream.
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