LAREDO, Texas (AP) A prosecutor says he considered the "horrific nature" of the killings and the suspect's vigilante mentality when deciding to pursue the death penalty against a U.S. Border Patrol agent who confessed to killing four female sex workers.
Juan David Ortiz. (Jail photo)
Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz announced Wednesday that a grand jury has indicted Juan David Ortiz on a capital murder charge, an upgrade from the initial murder charges against him.
Alaniz says a person can be charged with capital murder if more than one person is killed in the same scheme with an overarching motive.
Alaniz said the scheme was - in Ortiz's words - "to clean up the streets of Laredo."
Alaniz says Ortiz told investigators that he aimed to "clean up the streets of Laredo" with the slayings.
Police have said the women killed were all sex workers, and that he targeted them because they were vulnerable.
Alaniz said the evidence presented to the grand jury showed that Ortiz killed the women "in a cold, callous and calculating way."
He said he considers Ortiz a danger to society.
Ortiz was initially charged with four counts of murder, as well as aggravated assault and unlawful restraint.
He has been jailed on a $2.5 million bond since his Sept. 15 arrest in the border town of Laredo.
He was arrested almost two weeks after the first slaying after a woman escaped from him and asked a state trooper for help.