Border agent indicted for capital murder in 4 Texas deaths

FILE - This file photo provided by the Webb County Sheriff's Office shows U.S. Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz. Ortiz, who confessed to shooting four women in the head and leaving their bodies on rural Texas roadsides, was indicted Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, on a capital murder charge. (Webb County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

LAREDO, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the indictment of a U.S. Border Patrol agent on a capital murder charge in the slaying of four women (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

A prosecutor says a woman was very brave when she escaped the grasp of a U.S. Border Patrol agent now charged with capital murder in the deaths of four women in Texas.

Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said Wednesday that he believes that if Erika Pena hadn't escaped from Juan David Ortiz and alerted officials, more people would have been killed.

On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted Ortiz on a charge of capital murder in the deaths of four sex workers in September. Alaniz says Ortiz said he wanted to "clean up the streets of Laredo" by killing the women.

———

5:15 p.m.

A prosecutor says a U.S. Border Patrol agent who confessed to killing four sex workers believed that law enforcement didn't do enough to curb prostitution, so he was "doing a service" by slaying them.

Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said Wednesday that Juan David Ortiz deemed the sex workers "scum of the earth" and that he wanted to "clean the streets of these types of people."

Alaniz says Ortiz was a family man by day and by night hunted the streets, deciding who to kill.

Ortiz is charged with capital murder in the September slayings. Alaniz says he will seek the death penalty if Ortiz is found guilty.

———

4:30 p.m.

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.

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 considered the women disposable and didn't give value to them. 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.

———

3:35 p.m.

The U.S. Border Patrol agent who confessed to killing four women in a Texas border city told investigators he considered himself a righteous vigilante.

Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz also told a news conference Wednesday that he will seek the death penalty for Juan David Ortiz, who is charged with capital murder in the September deaths.

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.

———

3:20 p.m.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent who confessed to shooting four women in the head and leaving their bodies on rural Texas roadsides has been indicted on a capital murder charge.

Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said Wednesday that a grand jury decided to upgrade the charges against 35-year-old Juan David Ortiz.

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.

Authorities have said the victims were sex workers whom Ortiz targeted for their vulnerability. He was arrested almost two weeks after the first slaying after a woman escaped from him and asked a state trooper for help.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily morning newsletter.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.