A U.S. Border Patrol supervisor who allegedly believed he was providing a service to society by murdering sex workers could face the death penalty if he’s convicted, authorities said Wednesday.
Authorities say 35-year-old Juan David Ortiz confessed to killing four female sex workers after he was arrested in Texas in September. Ortiz was captured after he picked up a woman named Erika Pena and pointed a firearm at her in a gas station, prompting her to flee the car and alert authorities nearby. Police apprehended Ortiz hours later in his truck outside a hotel.
He has been charged with four counts of murder and with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful restraint of the fifth woman, who survived. He is currently being held on $2.5 million bond in Laredo, which is a border town.
"The scheme in this case, from Ortiz's own words, was to clean up the streets of Laredo by targeting this community of individuals who he perceived to be disposable, that no one would miss and that he did not give value to," said Webb County-Zapata County district attorney Isidro Alaniz Alaniz at a Wednesday news conference.
Alaniz said Ortiz confessed that he was trying to "clean up the streets of Laredo" by killing the women.
Three of the victims, including one transgender woman, were shot in the head, according to the Laredo Morning Times, which viewed the indictment. The fourth was shot in the neck and and then struck in the head with an object.
Cover image: A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle drives along the U.S./Mexico border fence on June 24, 2018 in Sunland Park, New Mexico. The Trump administration's 'zero tolerance' policy on immigration has created confusion for those seeking to immigrate to the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)