Border Patrol agent charged with capital murder in Texas

LAREDO, Texas (AP) — A U.S. Border Patrol agent who confessed to shooting four women in the head and leaving their bodies on rural Texas roadsides has been indicted on a capital murder charge, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

A grand jury decided to upgrade the charge against Juan David Ortiz , Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said at a news conference. Alaniz said prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

Ortiz, 35, was initially charged with four counts of murder, as well as aggravated assault and unlawful restraint. He has been held in Webb County jail on a $2.5 million bond since his Sept. 15 arrest in the border town of Laredo.

The Border Patrol intel supervisor and Navy veteran seemed to be living a typical suburban life with his wife and two children when the killings occurred. After the first slaying, he continued going to work as usual. He was eventually arrested after he pulled a gun on a woman who was able to escape and asked a state trooper for help.

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US Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz charged with capital murder
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US Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz charged with capital murder
This image provided by the Webb County Sheriff’s Office shows Juan David Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol supervisor who was jailed Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, on a $2.5 million bond in Texas, accused in the killing of at least four women. Ortiz was nabbed early Saturday after a string of violence against female sex workers in Laredo, Texas, where he is a supervisor with the Border Patrol. (Webb County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
Dozens of family members and friends of four women who authorities say were killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent gather for a candlelight vigil at a park in downtown Laredo, Texas, on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. Juan David Ortiz was arrested Saturday while hiding in a hotel parking garage. Investigators believe he fatally shot the four victims during separate attacks after taking each of them to desolate areas outside of Laredo. Investigators say a fifth victim escaped and contacted authorities. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Dozens of family members and friends of four women who authorities say were killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent gather for a candlelight vigil at a park in downtown Laredo, Texas, on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. Juan David Ortiz was arrested Saturday while hiding in a hotel parking garage. Investigators believe he fatally shot the four victims during separate attacks after taking each of them to desolate areas outside of Laredo. Investigators say a fifth victim escaped and contacted authorities. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Dozens of family members and friends of four women who authorities say were killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent pray during a candlelight vigil at a park in downtown Laredo, Texas, on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. Juan David Ortiz was arrested Saturday while hiding in a hotel parking garage. Investigators believe he fatally shot the four victims during separate attacks after taking each of them to desolate areas outside of Laredo. Investigators say a fifth victim escaped and contacted authorities. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Family members and friends of four women who authorities say were killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent attend a candlelight vigil at a park in downtown Laredo, Texas, on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. Juan David Ortiz was arrested Saturday while hiding in a hotel parking garage. Investigators believe he fatally shot the four victims during separate attacks after taking each of them to desolate areas outside of Laredo. Investigators say a fifth victim escaped and contacted authorities. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Dozens of family members and friends of four women who authorities say were killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent gather for a candlelight vigil at a park in downtown Laredo, Texas, on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. Juan David Ortiz was arrested Saturday while hiding in a hotel parking garage. Investigators believe he fatally shot the four victims during separate attacks after taking each of them to desolate areas outside of Laredo. Investigators say a fifth victim escaped and contacted authorities. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Laredo City Councilor Nelly Vielma speaks to a crowd of family members and friends during a prayer vigil in Laredo, Texas, on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. Vielma said the killing of four women amounted to a hate crime and the case should be a call to action for the border city. Border Patrol supervisor Juan David Ortiz is facing four counts of murder. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2018, file photo, dozens of family members and friends of four women who authorities say were killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz, gather for a candlelight vigil at a park in downtown Laredo, Texas. The Border Patrol sector in Laredo, Texas, where two agents were accused this year of multiple murders in separate cases, disciplined employees more over two years than any other major sector, according to data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Friday. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)
Dozens of family members and friends of four women who authorities say were killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent gather for a candlelight vigil at a park in downtown Laredo, Texas, on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. Juan David Ortiz was arrested Saturday while hiding in a hotel parking garage. Investigators believe he fatally shot the four victims during separate attacks after taking each of them to desolate areas outside of Laredo. Investigators say a fifth victim escaped and contacted authorities. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
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Authorities have said the victims were sex workers whom Ortiz knew and targeted for their vulnerability. Melissa Ramirez, 29, was slain on Sept. 3, and 42-year-old Claudine Luera was killed on Sept. 13.

On Sept. 14, he 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 in a gas station, according to court documents. Pena said Ortiz grabbed her shirt as she tried to get out of his truck, but she pulled it off and ran, finding a state trooper who was refueling his vehicle.

Ortiz fled and, he later told investigators, he 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.

According to court documents, Ortiz confessed to investigators that he had killed four people.

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