‘The monster would come out’, Texas jurors heard quadruple-homicide suspect say in taped confession, describing how he felt on sighting potential victims
Jurors also heard the former Border Patrol intelligence supervisor turned serial killer, in the taped confession, admitting that he wanted to ‘eradicate all the prostitutes’
Juan David Ortiz, 39, is his trial for the 2018 killings of four sex workers who were shot in the head then dumped on South Texas road
Ortiz, 39, is accused of the murders of Melissa Ramirez, 29, Claudine Anne Luera, 42, Guiselda Alicia Cantu, 35, and 28-year-old Janelle Ortiz
The women were all shot in the head and left along roads on the outskirts of Laredo, Texas, within a 12-day span
His arrest was set in motion when one victim Erika Pena, now 31, escaped from him when he pointed a gun at her while they were in his truck at a gas station on Sept. 14
Ortiz, a Navy veteran, was arrested shortly after the murders in September 2018
His defense attorney has argued that his confession was coerced, adding that his client has PTSD
Jurors in the capital murder trial of a former U.S. Border Patrol agent, have heard a taped interview in which he confesses to the 2018 killings of four sex workers in South Texas.
Juan David Ortiz, who served in Border Patrol for nine years, is now a suspected serial killer after allegedly targeting female sex workers.
Ortiz, 39, is accused of murdering Melissa Ramirez, 29, Claudine Anne Luera, 42, Guiselda Alicia Cantu, 35, and 28-year-old Janelle Ortiz, aka Nikki Enriquez.
The four women were all were shot in the head within 12 days of each other and left along roads on the outskirts of Laredo, Texas in September 2018.
Ortiz, a Navy veteran who was arrested shortly after the murders, told detectives in the video played in court that as he drove along a stretch of road that the women frequented, ‘the monster would come out’. Ortiz, who officials have said wasn’t on duty as a Border Patrol intelligence supervisor at the time of the murders and wore civilian clothing, told investigators he wanted to ‘clean up the streets’, and referred to the sex workers as ‘trash’ and ‘so dirty’.
Ortiz’s attorney, Joel Perez, argued in opening statements that investigators had jumped to conclusions, and that his client’s confession was ‘coerced.’
He said his client was ‘broken’ and ‘suicidal’ when he made the confession and told investigators he’d had blackouts.
Perez said that Ortiz told the investigators that he was a war veteran who’d been experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and was unable to sleep and was having nightmares. He added that Ortiz had been put on ‘a bunch of psychotic pills.’
Ortiz told investigators that his first victim Melissa Ramirez was killed on September 3. According to the suspect, he shot and killed his next victim, Claudine Anne Luera, on September 13.
On September 18, the day that Erika Pena escaped, Ortiz went on to kill Guiselda Alicia Cantu and Janelle Ortiz, aka Nikki Enriquez, within hours of each other.
In the interview with investigators, Ortiz said that after Ramirez had injected the drugs he’s bought for her, she’d passed out and that ‘angered’ him. He said that when she regained consciousness, she became belligerent.
Ortiz said that when he stopped so that she could use the restroom, he shot her in the back of the head.
Ortiz told investigators that after picking up Luera and taking her to get ‘a fix,’ he told her they should check out where Ramirez’s body was found. He said she ‘started freaking out.’ She died at a hospital after being shot in the head on September 13, 2018.
Capt. Federico Calderon of the Webb County Sheriff’s Department testified that officers who arrested Ortiz knew about the slayings of Ramirez and Luera, and while chasing him after Pena’s escape learned that a third body, later identified as that of Cantu, had been found.
Calderon said it wasn’t until Ortiz’s confession that they learned about a fourth slain woman, later identified as Janelle Ortiz.
Calderon told jurors that the information about a fourth victim was ‘volunteered’ by Ortiz and ‘surprised us completely.’
Janelle Ortiz and Guiselda Cantu were both killed in the hours before Juan David Ortiz was taken into custody.
Ortiz said on the tape that he’d planned to kill himself that night but was restrained by Cantu who told him: ‘Don’t do it. God loves you.’ Then, he said, he shot her in the neck.
The trial is being held in San Antonio, in Bexar County, following a defense request to move the trial from Webb County due to extensive media coverage.
The Border Patrol placed Ortiz on indefinite, unpaid suspension after his arrest.