Ex-Border Patrol Agent Found Guilty of Serial Killings

Juan David Ortiz convicted of capital murder
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2022 12:09 AM CST
Updated Dec 8, 2022 12:00 AM CST
Jurors Hear Accused Texas Serial Killer Describe Slayings
Capital murder defendant and former US Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz looks around the courtroom before the start of the first day of the trial before Webb County State District Court Judge Oscar J. Hale, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022.   (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)
UPDATE Dec 8, 2022 12:00 AM CST

A former US Border Patrol agent was convicted of capital murder Wednesday in the slayings of four women in Texas in 2018. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, so Juan David Ortiz will receive an automatic sentence of life behind bars without the possibility of parole, the AP reports.

Dec 5, 2022 12:09 AM CST

In a taped interview played for jurors last week, a former US Border Patrol agent and suspected serial killer allegedly describes killing four sex workers in South Texas in 2018, KSAT reports. Jurors heard Juan David Ortiz, now 39, allegedly confess to detectives that he wanted to "clean up the streets" because no one else was going to do it, and that as he drove along a stretch of road in San Antonio that the women frequented, "the monster would come out." But his attorney argued that investigators coerced the confession from a "suicidal" Ortiz, a veteran of war who'd been suffering from extreme PTSD, the AP reports. Ortiz was placed on indefinite, unpaid suspension after his arrest; prosecutors say he was not on duty or in his Border Patrol uniform when the murders were committed.

In the taped confession, Ortiz says the first victim, Melissa Ramirez, 29, did drugs in his truck and then passed out; he says he shot her twice after she woke up and got out of the truck to urinate. He says he decided to pick up the second victim, Claudine Anne Luera, 42, a week and a half later, on Sept. 13, 2018, and shot her after she realized they were in the area where Ramirez's body had been found and asked to leave. He says a third woman he picked up on Sept. 14, 2018, managed to escape, but he picked up third victim Guiselda Alicia Cantu, 35, soon after and told her he'd killed the other women before shooting her.

He says the fourth victim, Janelle Ortiz, 28, realized after he picked her up that he was the serial killer and that he shot her after ordering her out of the vehicle. He was arrested within hours of the killings of Cantu and Ortiz, on Sept. 15, 2018, after the woman who escaped the day prior alerted police. Police say they didn't know about Janelle Ortiz's death until Juan Ortiz, who is not related to her, told them about it. Testimony continues Monday. Ortiz, who is charged with capital murder, faces life behind bars without parole if convicted. (Read more Texas stories.)

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