A FORMER US Border Patrol agent was found guilty of capital murder on Wednesday in connection with the fatal shooting of four women.
Juan David Ortiz was arrested in September 2018 after another potential victim, Erika Peña, escaped and found a Texas Department of Public Safety officer.
The woman led officers to Ortiz’s truck and he was later taken into custody.
Ortiz confessed to killing the four women — Melissa Ramirez, 29, Claudine Luera, 42, Guiselda Cantu Hernandez, 35, and Janelle Ortiz, 28.
Two of the women were killed in the hours between Peña’s escape and Ortiz’s arrest.
Webb District Attorney Isidro Alaniz described Ortiz as a self-proclaimed vigilante who wanted to “clean up the streets of Laredo by targeting individuals who he thought were disposable and who no one would care about.” People he didn’t value.”
Ortiz, a 10-year US Customs and Border Protection veteran, was charged with capital murder in December 2018.
“Ortiz was a family man during the day,” Alaniz told reporters. “The evidence shows that he was a supervisor. That like everyone here he would go about his daily activities. He appeared normal by all accounts and circumstances.
“At night he was someone else, chasing the streets of San Bernardo for this community of people, randomly deciding who to kill next.”
“HUNT FOR HIS VICTIMS”
According to police, Ortiz’s first victim was Ramirez, whom he picked up on September 3, 2018 and drove to the outskirts of Laredo.
Ramirez exited the vehicle to urinate on the side of the road, reading the affidavit.
Ortiz shot her multiple times in the back of the head.
Ten days later, Ortiz picked up another woman – Luera – and drove her out of town.
Luera had grown suspicious and accused Ortiz of being the last person seen with Ramirez. Then she got out of the car.
Ortiz then shot her multiple times in the head and fled the scene, police said.
On September 15, after Peña escaped, Ortiz picked up another woman, initially identified as Jane Doe.
He forced the woman out of the car and shot her in the head, the affidavit said. The woman was later identified as Cantu Hernandez.
Later that night, Ortiz picked up a transgender woman and drove her five miles from where he killed Cantu Hernandez and shot her once in the back of the head.
The woman has been identified as Janelle Ortiz.
“The evidence we have now is that he similarly committed these murders, taking these individuals to devastated areas near or just outside the city limits and executing them with a pistol,” Alaniz said.
Police said Ortiz targeted vulnerable victims in communities he didn’t like — people with drug or alcohol addictions, or sex workers.
“The suspect was on the hunt for his victims,” Alaniz said.
According to Deputy Chief of the Webb County Sheriff’s Department Federico Garza, Ortiz got to know his victims and met with them several times to gain their trust.
The trial lasted eight days, and the Bexar County jury deliberated four and a half hours before returning a guilty verdict.
Ortiz was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6875812/juan-david-ortiz-sentenced-border-patrol-officer-murderer-laredo-texas/ Important update after the bodies of four women were found on the side of the road before the fifth victim made a daring escape from the killer’s truck