The United States Border Patrol agent who authorities say went on a killing spree in September on the Texas-Mexico border will face the death penalty if convicted of capital murder, the Webb and Zapata County District Attorney’s office announced Tuesday.
Juan David Ortiz, an intelligence supervisor for the Border Patrol, was arrested in the pre-dawn hours Sept. 15 after local and state law enforcement say he allegedly murdered four Laredo-area sex workers, including one transgender woman. Another woman, who authorities said would have been his fifth victim, escaped and gave authorities information that helped lead to Ortiz’s arrest.
He was charged with four counts of murder, one count of unlawful restraint, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of evading arrest or detention. The grand jury ultimately indicted Ortiz on one count of capital murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful restraint and evading arrest or detention. He was also indicted on one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of unlawful restraint with reckless exposure to serious bodily injury and evading arrest or detention. His bond has been set at $2.5 million.
Ortiz’s arrest shocked the border community after details of the agent’s actions were made public. Over the course of about two weeks and on separate occasions, Ortiz would pick up the women and drive them beyond the Laredo city limits. That’s when he’d pull over, tell the victims to get out of the vehicle and shoot them in the head, according to his arrest affidavit.
Isidro Alaniz, the Webb and Zapata County district attorney, said at the time of Ortiz’s arrest that the alleged crimes should not be a stain on the entire U.S. Border Patrol.
“It’s super unfortunate and tragic,” Alaniz said in September. “It’s not a reflection of Border Patrol, they do a great job protecting our borders they’re super professional and the work they do is important.”
An arraignment hearing is pending, Alaniz’s office said.
Melania Trump ripped for bragging about helping children while her husband runs concentration camps for kids
Melania Trump was ripped on Monday for pushing her signature "Be Best" campaign against bullying while her husband, President Donald Trump, runs concentration camps for children along the southern border.
"Looking forward to collaborating with all of our #BeBest Ambassadors. Delighted to be working alongside so many people both inside and outside of government to better the lives of children everywhere!" Melania Trump tweeted Monday.
The response was some of the harshest since she wore an "I Don't Care" jacked to visit the border.
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On Sunday, Austin Savage and five of his friends huddled into an SUV and went to an El Paso Target, loading up on diapers, wipes, soaps and toys.
About $340 later, the group headed to a Border Patrol facility holding migrant children in nearby Clint with the goal of donating their goods. Savage said he and his friends had read an article from The New York Times detailing chaos, sickness and filth in the overcrowded facility, and they wanted to help.
But when they arrived, they found that the lobby was closed. The few Border Patrol agents — Savage said there were between eight and 10 of them — moving in and out of a parking facility ignored them.
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When disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn recently hired a new firebrand lawyer, Sidney Powell, it suggested he could be maneuvering to change his legal strategy.
And on Monday, new signs emerged that his legal team is looking to shake things up. Flynn had another status hearing on Monday before Judge Emmet Sullivan as he awaits sentencing for charges brought by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
In the hearing on Monday, Powell, who had been publicly critical of the Russia investigation before joining Flynn’s team, requested a security clearance to review documents in the case. This was a surprising move, because the government said that there was no classified information in the documents it had turned over to the defense.