Otis McKane was sentenced to death by the State of Texas for the murder of a police officer. According to court documents Otis McKane would fatally shoot Detective Benjamin Marconi in 2016. Otis McKane would tell reporters he was mad at the “system” for not being able to see his child during a custody suit. The jury deliberated for less than an hour before finding him guilty and sentencing him to death
Otis McKane 2021 Information
SID Number: 06238975
TDCJ Number: 00999622
Name: MCKANE,OTIS TYRONE
Maximum Sentence Date: DEATH ROW
Current Facility: POLUNSKY
Projected Release Date: DEATH ROW
Parole Eligibility Date: DEATH ROW
Inmate Visitation Eligible: NO
Otis McKane More News
Otis McKane was sentenced to death late Friday for killing San Antonio police Detective Benjamin Marconi, a beloved officer who the defendant had insisted was simply a convenient and random target of his anger.
Prosecutors were equally insistent that the execution-style slaying downtown was planned and calculated, requiring hours of stalking. The jury deliberated more than seven hours in a case that horrified San Antonians because it was caught on video, witnessed by several bystanders on a busy street and seemed so predatory.
McKane, 36, had shot Marconi, 50, twice in the head after approaching a parked patrol vehicle where the 20-year police veteran was writing a traffic citation while working an overtime shift
When jurors convicted him of capital murder on July 26, they deliberated only about 25 minutes.
McKane told investigators and news media he had lashed out at the first police officer he saw because no one at the police department would help him when he tried to report that the mother of his son had violated a visitation order.
Prosecutor Mario Del Prado, in closing arguments for the death sentence, said McKane had deliberately planned a “heinous and unspeakable” crime.
He reminded the jury that surveillance video taken from Public Safety Headquarters downtown showed McKane circling the complex for hours. He made a U-turn on South Santa Rosa Street when Marconi stopped a motorist, ran up to shoot the officer and finally crashed his vehicle through two traffic barriers in a parking lot as he fled.
Prosecutors played dozens of videos, taken from Public Safety Headquarters and from inside Marconi’s patrol vehicle, that presented the shooting as if watching a movie. They displayed transcripts of witness testimony from the four-week trial describing domestic violence and McKane’s criminal record, which included terroristic threats, cocaine possession and drug sales.
The assault of a court bailiff right after his capital murder conviction was part of that list — also on video.
Defense lawyers brought in experts to portray McKane’s upbringing and circumstances — oldest child of a single mother responsible for younger siblings, the product of a poor neighborhood who grew to resent “the system” because the mother of his child would not let him see his son — as key to his escalation to a killer.
Jurors had to answer two questions: whether McKane would pose a continuing threat, or if there were sufficient mitigating circumstances — regarding the offense, his character, background or personal moral culpability — to warrant a sentence of life in prison rather than death.
A gasp was heard in the gallery as state District Judge Ron Rangel read the panel’s “yes” answer to the first question, and “no” to the second.
McKane showed no reaction to the sentence as he was handcuffed. McKane’s mother, Sandra McKane, sitting with two of her adult children and a family friend, covered her face and wept. The four left the room, embracing. A male supporter yelled, “Love you Otis,” as the prisoner was led away.
Jurors began deliberating at 12:48 p.m., directed by Rangel to stay in the cleared courtroom to maintain social distancing because of COVID-19. They reached a verdict at about 8:30 p.m.and the gallery was packed with observers when the sentence was read 30 minutes later.
The Marconi family, San Antonio police officers and Bexar County Sheriff’s deputies were in attendance. So was District Attorney Joe D. Gonzales, who afterward called Marconi’s killing a “cold-blooded assassination” and said he recognized the difficulty faced by the jury — “chosen during a pandemic” to decide Bexar County’s first death penalty case in nearly six years.
An SAPD spokeswoman relayed the Marconi family’s request for privacy and their statement thanking court officials, the jury, law enforcement officers and the friends and relatives who had attended the trial or supported them in other ways.
“From the bottom of our hearts, we are extremely proud of all the hard work you put into bringing justice for Ben and finding closure for our family,” the statement said, naming all three prosecutors and District Attorney Joe Gonzales.
“And finally, to Detective Benjamin Edward Marconi—THANK YOU for making our lives better, and the lives of everyone you touched. You are eternally missed and we will NEVER forget you—rest easy sweet Ben,” the statement concluded.
Del Prado, chief of the DA’s major crimes division, said prosecutors took no pleasure in the verdict, and that the decision to seek death was not done lightly, but that in Marconi’s case, “it was more than called for.”
“Benjamin Marconi’s 50 years on this earth matter. Benjamin Marconi mattered to his friends and family and coworkers at the police department. He mattered because he’s the kind of man who went in and saved a child,” Del Prado said.
“It’s so easy to forget that, because he’s not here. He hasn’t met the rest of his grandchildren. His family, for the rest of their lives, they’re going to mourn him.”
Del Prado praised the work of his team, assistant district attorneys Tamara Strauch and Jessica Schulze, saying they spent years preparing the case. He touted their expertise, which he said they needed because they faced “quality opposition,” the defense team of Raymond Fuchs, Joel Perez and Daniel De La Garza.
In his argument to the jury, Del Prado noted that McKane, almost as soon as the jury found him guilty last week, had lashed out again and elbowed a bailiff in the face. It took 12 deputies to get him in control in a secured lockup near the defense table.
“You heard when y’all returned your verdict — that empowered him,” Del Prado said, referring to the attack on the bailiff. “Can you imagine in TDC (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) with 143 of his new friends?”
Del Prado reminded the jurors that a prison official testified that 143 inmates serving life without parole are watched by only one guard.
In his closing argument, defense attorney Fuchs disputed that the state met its burden in showing that McKane was a continuing danger.
“The murder of Benjamin Marconi is tragic, wrong and evil,” he said. “No one disputes that — he didn’t deserve it. But what happens now to Otis McKane?”
Fuchs argued that in the years he has been in confinement in the Bexar County jail, and since the panel first met him back in March 2020 when they were chosen to serve on the jury, McKane had caused no other problems.
“It wasn’t like he never had an opportunity,” Fuchs said.
Another defense lawyer, Perez, said the killing of a police officer in the line of duty is handled differently from other serious crimes.
“If someone committed murder, killed a mother and her kids, the most we could do is give them life without parole,” he said. “When they (prosecutors) are saying, ‘he must die, he must die,’ keep that in mind.”
Perez had barely finished his last sentence when McKane raised his hand and began to stand and wave, attempting to speak.
Perez and Fuchs went into the secure lockup with McKane for a few moments and returned to tell the judge that their client would not be testifying.
Strauch playd the video taken from Marconi’s patrol vehicle, showing the officer being shot — once in the left cheek, as he grabbed his face, then McKane’s left arm just inches from his head with the second shot.
“This defendant targeted him because of his uniform,” Strauch told the jury. “He feels justified in what he did because the system wronged him.”
Strauch showed snippets of McKane’s interview after his arrest just 28 hours after the shooting, in which he denied more than a dozen times that he shot Marconi.
Once he admitted he shot the officer, McKane balked at expressing regret.
“I want to say I apologize, to the police and the family, but something in my heart won’t let me apologize,” he said in the video. “I wanted the police station to feel the burn I felt in my heart.”