SAN ANTONIO — A jury came back with a guilty verdict against Otis McKane, the defendant who murdered SAPD detective Benjamin Marconi. Former DA Nico LaHood gave legal insight on how McKane’s violent outburst in court could impact his fate.
After less than an hour of deliberation Monday, jurors found Otis McKane guilty of capital murder. A few minutes after the verdict was read, McKane got up from his seat and elbowed one of the deputies inside the courtroom. In the courtroom video, nearly a dozen people who were mostly law enforcement officers attempt to tackle him to the ground.
KENS 5 spoke with Nico LaHood who was the Bexar County district attorney when SAPD detective Benjamin Marconi was murdered in 2016. Marconi was conducting a traffic stop outside of SAPD headquarters, when investigators say McKane pulled up next to him in his car. He fatally shot Marconi twice in the head. McKane would later confess that he was upset with police over child custody issues.
As the next phase of the trial enters the sentencing phase, jurors will decide if McKane deserves the death penalty. LaHood said he is not surprised with the unanimous guilty verdict. He said there was strong evidence in the case. LaHood explained that the sentencing phase is its own separate trial. He said there are two issues that will be addressed. First, if McKane is a threat to others in the future. LaHood said McKane’s violent outburst could have an influence in their decision.
“When you talk about future danger, if he's going to come out and act like that out in court, the argument could be made that in a court of law, the bailiffs, people around him could be in danger. Obviously, that’s not to that extreme,” explained LaHood.
He said the second issue that will likely be addressed is if there is any redeemable quality that would warrant life or death.
“There's a mitigation aspect to it that’s where mitigation experts come in from the defense and the state argues against that and that's where the battle is over those two issues,” he said.
As for what he believed the outcome will be in the sentencing phase, LaHood said he has his own opinion but would rather see what the jury decides in the case.