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A man reminded a jury of the times he heard gunshots and found San Antonio Police Detective Benjamin Marconi killed in his patrol car.
Ricky Lee Martinez’s compelling testimony came on the second day of the capital murder trial of Otis McKane, who is charged with the shooting death of Marconi in November 2016.
Martinez, who was visibly nervous on the witness stand, said he was arrested for a traffic violation by Marconi that morning. Driving a Pontiac Firebird to tour the River Walk with his pregnant girlfriend and their three children, Martinez was parked outside Public Safety headquarters – in front of Marconi’s cruiser – just before the shooting.
Martinez said that when asking Marconi why he had arrested him, the detective told him he would contact him again and went to his patrol car.
Moments later, Martinez said, he saw a black car pull up behind Marconi’s police unit and witnessed the fatal encounter in his rearview mirror.
“I realized that a black man had driven into a police car and shots (were) being fired,” Martinez said. “I heard two gunshots nearby, and a black man shot the officer. I was afraid.”
Martinez, who said the incident still traumatizes him to this day, testified that he feared for the lives of his family and told them to “stay in bed and not move and say nothing” and thought to “my family and I don’t.
The prosecution witness told jurors that the gunman ran to his car, stuck out an arm and crossed a parking lot before finally running away. It was then that Martinez decided to check out Marconi.
Martinez said he approached the police car with his hands up and saw the driver’s door open.
“I could see him lying there and saw blood flowing. I (frozen) and all. I wanted to help but I was afraid to help, ”Martinez said.
Martinez said the officer was bleeding from his neck and saw his driver’s license folded in Marconi’s hand. He said that a few moments later the police arrived and he told them what had happened.
Martinez’s testimony came the same day a juror left the courtroom twice.
The juror first left the proceedings after a video from inside Marconi’s patrol unit that showed the moment Marconi was shot was shown in court.
Marconi’s family members were also very moved, with some turning away during the video and others watching her. Some could be heard crying, according to KSAT courtroom reporter Erica Hernandez, who tweets live from the courtroom.
After the video aired, Judge Ron Rangel ordered a short stay.
A second video was then highlighted from a reverse angle of what happened inside the vehicle. The defense objected to the video being released, saying it was damaging, prompting tense debate.
“One of the jurors became physically ill and had to leave the courtroom and had to recover before he could return. So the idea that it wouldn’t be detrimental is ludicrous, ”defense attorney Ramon Fuchs said.
“This video we are talking about shows the event as it really happens,” retorted prosecutor Tamara Strauch. Rangel allowed the video to be released for evidentiary purposes, which he said made it easier for the jury to understand and see what happened.
About two hours later, the same juror again left the courtroom when Rangel requested another recess. A courthouse cleaning crew was seen cleaning an area inside the courtroom and a bailiff picking up water bottles belonging to jury members.
McKane faces the death penalty if convicted.
The trial will resume Wednesday at 9 a.m. You can watch every moment live on KSAT in this article.
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