Juan David Ortiz, a former Border Patrol intelligence supervisor, was convicted of capital murder after being arrested in 2018 for killing four women and discarding the remains in Laredo, Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border.
On Wednesday, December 7, in a unanimous verdict, a Texas jury found Juan David Ortiz guilty of picking up the four women identified as s*x workers and shooting them in the back of the head before abandoning their bodies in the desert.
Juan David Ortiz, 39, a Navy veteran, was arrested in September 2018 while working as a Border Patrol agent. Officials said that Ortiz was off-duty and wearing civilian clothes when he killed the victims, identified as Melissa Ramirez, 29; Claudine Anne Luera, 42; Guiselda Alicia Cantu, 35; and Janelle Ortiz, 28.
Juan David Ortiz was arrested after a victim escaped his clutches
Juan David Ortiz was arrested in September 2018 after a woman, Erika Pena, alerted the authorities after she ran from him when he pointed a gun at her while they were in his truck at a gas station.
Pena, in a similar profession as the four victims, testified that Ortiz became agitated after she questioned him about his troubling remarks that investigators would find his DNA on victim Ramirez, who was found dead a week earlier. Ortiz was reportedly worried as he was “next to the last person” to have relations with Ramirez.
Ortiz confessed to the crimes after being interrogated by investigators for nine hours. He revealed a potential motive for the killings, describing the victims as “dirt” who he wanted to dispose of. He told the police:
“I wanted to clean up the streets. These people… are dirt, and I was going to get rid of them. Law enforcement doesn’t do anything about them? I will. I’m sick of them.”
During the interrogation, Ortiz confessed to the murder of Ramirez, saying, she had “angered” him after she passed out in his car injecting the drugs he’d bought her.
Investigators said Luera's body was discovered days after Ramirez was found. Ortiz reportedly picked her up to get “a fix,” and told her they should check out where Ramirez’s body was. Ortiz shot her after she freaked out because of his odd behavior.
Family members of the four victims who attended the trial appeared gratified by the verdict after they each gave powerful victim impact statements during the trial. Melissa Ramirez's sister-in-law stated:
“I still mourn for my sister-in-law. My heart is torn apart. Monsters like you don’t even deserve to breathe. You deserve to die and suffer for what you did and when that day happens, I will finally be at peace.”
Ortiz was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.