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Guilty verdict in Laredo Border Patrol murders

Former U.S. Border Patrol Juan David Ortiz talks with one of his attorneys, Joel Perez, before the start of the first day of his trial, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022.

SAN ANTONIO – For 12 days in 2018, Juan David Ortiz, U.S. Border Patrol supervisory agent, picked up women on Laredo’s streets, drove them to remote corners of the county and ended their lives with close-range gunshots to the head. 

On Wednesday, a jury unanimously found Ortiz guilty of capital murder, ending for now one of the more chilling murder sagas in South Texas history. 

It also concluded a trial that was punctuated with courtroom drama, including a doctor who rushed from the witness stand to treat a fainting juror and a revealing jailhouse phone call that further incriminated the defendant.

Ortiz, 39, stood stone-faced as the Webb County Judge Oscar Hale read the verdict, after jury deliberations stretched past 7 p.m. Nearby, more than 20 family members of the victims cried or gasped loudly. Ortiz’s mother, seated in the row behind his defense team, collapsed into the arms of a relative, sobbing loudly.