Juan David Ortiz trial continues on day 4
BEXAR COUNTY, TX. (KGNS) - Thursday was the fourth day of trial for former Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz accused of killing four women.
Day four started with Webb County Sheriff’s Office Captain Federico Calderon taking the stand once again after providing a full day of testimony on Wednesday.
Captain Calderon provided a brief overview about the additional footage of the interrogation video.
Calderon also stated that when Ortiz was brought in for questioning, he was shown pictures of the victims and initially denied knowing Melissa Ramirez and Claudine Anne Luera.
Footage of the 2018 interrogation footage shows the moments, Ortiz told investigators, “My life is over.”
During the trial, Calderon went on to reference a Facebook post allegedly made by Ortiz that alerted and concerned Ortiz’s family at the time.
In the post Ortiz wrote, “This is Doc, checking out.”
Calderon told jurors the post was made by Ortiz while hiding from authorities inside the Ava Hotel parking garage.
Roughly ten minutes of the interrogation footage showed Ortiz alone in the room fidgeting, stretching, and laying his head down.
When the two officers returned to the room, Ortiz told them he would have “shot himself” if he had his weapon on him.
In the video, investigators show Ortiz pictures of Melissa Ramirez, Claudine Anne Luera, and Erika Pena, who he again denied knowing.
The officers went onto describe the amount of times Ramirez was shot and that both Ramirez and Luera knew each other.
During the interrogation, investigators brought up the purse that was found in Ortiz’s truck which contained heroin, condoms and feminine products.
Ortiz responded that it belonged to Erika Pena.
During questioning, Ortiz told officers that if the allegations were true then he was a disgrace and would fall in the ranks of a former Border Patrol agent accused of murder.
Ortiz was referring to the 2018 case of Ronald Anthony Burgos-Aviles who is accused of causing the deaths of Grizelda Hernandez and her son Dominic Alexander Hernandez.
The officers shifted the interrogation to his weapon, the victims, and victims’ children.
Images of the deceased bodies of Luera and Ramirez were shown to Ortiz.
When officers asked Ortiz what message he wanted to relay to his wife, he said, “My life is over, I will never see her again.”
Ortiz was told Luera was still alive when officers found her, but she later died at the hospital.
Overwhelmed by the images and the emotion of the trial, some of the victims’ families stepped out of the courtroom.
During the interrogation, Ortiz claimed that he experienced paranoia, fear and had trust issues.
Ortiz concerns shifted to whether his arrest had caught the media’s attention. He referenced citizen journalist Priscilla Villareal, also known as La Gordiloca, on her extended coverage of authorities surrounding the Ava Hotel.
He was curious about how she obtained that information.
Throughout the interview, Ortiz repeatedly talked about the veteran’s affair clinic, the number of pills he was prescribed, and his state of mind when he was arrested.
His military background is discussed, especially a poignant moment he says affected him greatly while in the service.
Ortiz said during his second day in Iraq, gun fire erupted, and the incident left him shocked.
The investigators asked if he was “callous” to death and if his experience with witnessing death impacted his mental state.
The jurors were then shown disk 4 of the interrogation, which include a conversation about syringes founds in his truck.
In the video, jurors saw Ortiz get swabbed for gunshot residue.
Ortiz was then seen alone in the interrogation room from 7:15 a.m. to 8: 28 a.m.
The jurors were excused for recess, the trial will continue at 1:30 p.m. to examine disk 5.
After a short recess, Captain Calderon was brought back to the stand to explain to the jurors the footage that was on disk five.
Calderon told the jurors that Ortiz was asked about possible STD’s he could have contracted and possibly given to his family.
D.A. Alaniz asked Calderon about the weapons, and ammo possessed by Ortiz.
Calderon stated that Ortiz’s only request was not to kick down the door or “Trash his home.”
During the interrogation process, questions were asked about missing ammunition, since Ortiz had mentioned earlier in the interview that he had not fired his weapon.
As the interrogation continued, more pictures of Luera were shown to which Ortiz crumpled and denied knowing her.
Calderon stated Ortiz requested to be in total isolation if he was arrested and put in jail.
Disk 5 of the interrogation was shown to Ortiz, some of the images shown were the syringes and items left inside his pickup truck during the time of the arrest.
The officers asked Ortiz if he or his wife have taken an STD test, but Ortiz stated that he had taken one a week before his arrest.
During the video, Ortiz is seeing crumpling the images of Luera.
The officers were seen walking out of the room and Ortiz is left alone in the room.
For several minutes, Ortiz is seen again laying his head down, fidgeting and even asking an officer to switch the handcuffs to another hand.
An officer is seen asking if Ortiz would consent to doing a DNA test, to which Ortiz replied, yes.
Ortiz is seen sighing and even say in Spanish, “Ya se acabo este pe**” translated to, “This (expletive) is over”.
In the video, when the officers returned to get a DNA swab, Ortiz asked if them if they could open his phone and print out a picture of his family so he could have it.
Ortiz is seen administering the test himself; he is seen taking off his clothes to be photographed and changing into a Webb County Jail jumpsuit.
The two officers holding the interview return and tell Ortiz they have talked to his wife who was asking them what was happening.
At 11 a.m., Ortiz breaks down and tells the officers he doesn’t want his wife to waste money on legal fees.
Ortiz told officers he was concerned his mother would have a heart attack and was considered the family’s “pride and joy.”
He ultimately admitted to knowing Erika Pena.
Ortiz told the officers Pena was pressuring him about Ramirez and Luera’s murders, they went driving to get Pena drugs and later to a store for beers.
When they returned to Ortiz’s house, Pena continued asking about Ramirez.
Throughout the conversation, Ortiz admitted to a sexual encounter with Ramirez and Pena admitted to feeling fear of going back inside Ortiz’ house. Ortiz and Pena drove away, and she told Ortiz that “Death was near”, they parked at a store and eventually Pena ran away.
The conversation then shifted to the ammunition Ortiz had stored and the video of the interrogation ends.
Calderon is asked the contents of disk seven by D.A. Alaniz.
Calderon confirms the contents include what happens to Melissa Ramirez, Claudine Luera, Janelle Ortiz, and Griselda Cantu.
The captain says Ortiz had picked-up Ramirez to get high and she passed out, he described Ortiz’s intention of “dumping” her at the hospital but contemplated against it because of the cameras.
Ortiz said he drove north on Jefferies Road, when Ramirez came to and asked if he could stop at so she could urinate.
At that moment Ortiz pulled out his weapon and shot Ramirez in the back of the head several times.
Before he confessed, Ortiz requested to have his handcuffs removed, which the officers complied.
Calderon went on to say, when Ortiz picked up Luera, she questioned Ortiz about Ramirez’s murder.
Calderon said Ortiz took Luera to FM 255, close to where Ramirez’s body was found.
During that time, Calderon said Luera started “freaking out” which is when he killed her.
After Pena’s assault, Calderon told the jurors that Ortiz said, “These people were trash” and that he was “going to clean up the streets.”
According to Calderon, Ortiz also stated that he told law enforcement of “the issues out there and they hadn’t done anything.”
Calderon said Ortiz had picked up Janelle Ortiz, drove her under an overpass on mile marker 22 where he confessed to her that he was behind the murders.
Calderon said that Janelle pleaded for her life and told Ortiz “Don’t do it, God loves you” and then he shot her.
The body of Griselda Cantu was discovered while a BOLO (be on the lookout) alert was issued for Ortiz.
Calderon said Ortiz confessed to Janelle’s murder in the interview.
The seventh disk was then played for the jurors.
Ortiz said Ramirez was “mouthing off” before killing her.
The next day, Ortiz said he was “paranoid” and was told by his superiors to check a vehicle near the area where Ramirez was found.
Ortiz said he was “trying to rationalize” why he killed Ramirez and days later he told the investigators, “I kept driving on San Bernardo and then this is where the monster came out.”
Court was recessed for the day, trial will resume 8:30 a.m.
You can watch day four of the trial on KSAT’s livestream.
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