Chilling confession of accused serial killer played in court: ‘The monster would come out’

Border Agent Arrested (2019 San Antonio Express-News)
Border Agent Arrested (2019 San Antonio Express-News)

Prosecutors in Texas battling to convict a former US Border Patrol agent on murder charges provided jurors with a shocking piece of evidence – a recording of the man allegedly confessing to the murders of four sex workers.

Juan David Ortiz, 39, is accused of killing Melissa Ramirez, 29; Caludine Anne Luera, 42; Guiselda Alicia Cantu, 35; and Janelle Ortiz, 28.

Each of the women killed was shot in the head and left on the side of the road outside Laredo, Texas in September of 2018. Mr Ortiz, if convicted, faces life in prison without parole.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, the prosecutors played a video recording of Mr Ortiz confessing to the killings during the trial.

During the video, Mr Ortiz reportedly can be heard describing himself as something of a vigilante, claiming he wanted to "clean up the streets" of the women, who he referred to as "trash" that were "so dirty." He said he would drive the roads where sex workers frequented and then "the monster would come out”.

"I was like, you know what? These people, they’re not good people, so I convinced myself of that," Mr Ortiz told the investigators.

Prosecutors only learned of the fourth victim, Ms Ortiz, after Mr Ortiz offered up the information freely.

On the recording, Mr Ortiz said he had planned to kill himself, and said he shared that information with Ms Cantu. According to him, she told him not to, and said that God loved him, after which he allegedly shot her in the neck.

According to KENS-TV, Joel Perez, the attorney representing Mr Ortiz, is questioning whether or not prosecutors stepped on his client’s Fifth Amendment rights and claimed they "coerced" the confession.

Mr Perez said Mr Ortiz was "broken" and "suicidal" when he gave the confession, claiming his client was experiencing blackouts and told the prosecutors as much.

The attorney also claimed that Mr Ortiz has been prescribed "a bunch of psychotic pills" and is a combat veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Police managed to track down Mr Ortiz when a woman, Erika Pena, managed to escape from him after he pointed a gun at her during an encounter at a gas station.

She said at the time she and Mr Ortiz allegedly had a deal in which he would provide her with drug money and she would repay him with sex. Ms Pena said he was normally a "nice, smart, funny" and "normal guy," but that she became uneasy around him after he made a comment about a sex worker who had been killed.

During her testimony, Ms Pena said Mr Ortiz mentioned that he was the "next to last person" to have had sex with Ms Ramirez, who had been killed a week prior.

"It made me think that he was the one who might have been murdering," she said.