Fri, Dec 07, 2018 - Page 7 News List

US border agent indicted after sex worker murders

AP, DALLAS

A US Border Patrol agent who confessed to killing four sex workers told investigators he wanted to “clean up the streets” of his Texas border hometown, a prosecutor said on Wednesday while announcing that a grand jury had indicted the man for capital murder.

Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said he would seek the death penalty for the September slayings and that evidence presented to the grand jury showed Juan David Ortiz killed the women “in a cold, callous and calculating way.”

“The scheme in this case, from Ortiz’s own words, was to clean up the streets of Laredo, Texas, by targeting this community of individuals who he perceived to be disposable, that no one would miss and that he did not give value to,” Alaniz said at a news conference.

Alaniz said Ortiz, 35, believed he was “doing a service” by killing the women.

Three of the women were shot. The fourth was also shot, but died of blunt force trauma.

“By day, he was a family man. The evidence shows that he was a supervisor, that he would go about his daily activities like anybody here. He appeared normal by all accounts and circumstances,” Alaniz said. “At the nighttime, he was somebody else — hunting the streets ... for this community of people and arbitrarily deciding who he was going to kill next.”

Melissa Ramirez, 29, was slain on Sept. 3, and 42-year-old Claudine Luera was killed on Sept. 13.

On Sept. 14, Ortiz picked up another woman, Erika Pena, who told investigators that Ortiz acted oddly when she brought up Ramirez’s slaying and later pointed a gun at her while they were in his truck at a gas station, court documents showed.

Pena said Ortiz grabbed her shirt as she tried to get out of the truck, but she pulled it off and ran, finding a state trooper who was refueling his vehicle.

Ortiz later told investigators that he fled and then picked up and killed his last two victims — 35-year-old Guiselda Alicia Cantu and 28-year-old Janelle Ortiz, a transgender woman whose birth name was Humberto Ortiz.

With Pena’s help, authorities were able to track Ortiz to a hotel parking garage where he was arrested.

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