The ambush murder of SAPD Detective Benjamin Marconi; South Texas Crime Histories

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A year ago, we all watched the capital murder trial of Otis McKane.

For the first time ever, KSAT broadcast a hammer to hammer trial live.

This was the first time we heard and saw all the evidence in the Det. murder case. San Antonio Police Department. Benjamin Marconi.

Who is Bejamin Marconi?

Benjamin Marconi was born in Floresville, just southeast of San Antonio.

His father was an SAPD officer and being a cop was a profession Marconi gravitated towards. He ended up joining SAPD as well.

Her brother Tom Marconi spoke a bit about their family during the trial.

“So I’m Ben’s older brother, I’m the eldest of four siblings in our family,” Tom said. “[Ben’s] personality is probably larger than life for us. He was that person, I think it’s safe to say everyone in the family gravitated to Ben. I know my sisters really considered Ben their hero. And then for the nieces and nephews, Uncle Ben was just amazing to them. And having someone like him in your life to help mold your kids is something you can’t put a price tag on.

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Everything was about to change for the Marconi family on November 20, 2016.

November 20, 2016

Detective Maroni, a 20-year SAPD veteran, took an overtime patrol shift.

It was something he had done often and this morning had started out like any other morning for him in his patrol unit.

Just before lunchtime, he stopped a vehicle driven by Ricky Lee Martinez, who was with his family visiting the River Walk.

This traffic stop was carried out right in front of the SAPD headquarters in the city center.

After Detective Marconi took the man’s license and returned to his vehicle, another car pulled up.

Martinez described what happened next when he testified at the trial.

“Well, I realized a black man ran towards the police car and shots were fired. I didn’t want to see anything anymore because I was scared of what had happened,” Martinez said.

Martinez then saw the shooter run to his car and head for an arm post in a parking lot and drive away.

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Detective Marconi had been shot twice, several witnesses ended up seeing the crime take place.

A VIA bus driver who was passing by, a mother and her daughter who were going to lunch and another man who was also driving by and had stopped to help Detective Marconi.

He was rushed to SAMM-C, where he later died.

In her testimony at the trial, Jacy Reeves, Marconi’s stepdaughter, described how she learned of her father’s death.

“I will never forget that day,” Reeves said. “My mum called me and said he didn’t survive. I just remember a wall of police everywhere. Just in shock we saw this pillar of our family lying on a missing table .

The search was now on for the man who committed the horrific crime police called an execution-style shooting.

A city-wide manhunt took place, police did not rest until this suspect was arrested.

Thirty hours later, the police had their man.

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The suspect

Otis McKane was arrested as he and his new wife were about to leave town for Houston off 1-10 and FM 1516 on the East Side.

As the search for the suspect was over, everyone wanted to know why McKane had killed Marconi.

Apparently, on the morning of November 20, McKane was already at SAPD headquarters asking to speak to someone about a custody issue he was having with his ex and not being able to see his son.

As it was a Sunday morning, no one was readily available and McKane left only to return hours later when he shot Detective Marconi. It was all just a random gunshot.

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During his interrogation video, McKane admitted to being the shooter and explained “I wanted the police station to feel the burn in my heart.”

When he was held in front of reporters, McKane told the media “I attacked someone who didn’t deserve it.”

While the suspect was now behind bars, the damage he had caused had touched so many; not only the Marconi family but his brothers and sisters in blue.

Hundreds of people attended Benjamin’s funeral, including law enforcement officers from across the country.

His brother Tom told the court how much Detective Marconi enjoyed being an officer.

“He had a real passion and a real gift for wanting to help people. It was in him. It was built into her makeup,” Tom said. “So I think it was only natural for him to be able to serve the community and help as many people as he has throughout his career.”

The trial

During the trial, the state called 55 witnesses over the span of 10 days.

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In addition to numerous eyewitnesses, plenty of evidence was presented, even by a NASA imagery specialist, who analyzed an image of a tattoo on McKane’s hand that was enhanced from the video of the filming.

Also, Joseph Hinojosa, assistant manager at Rent-A-Tire, did not witness the shooting, but he testified that he called the police the next day. Hinojosa provided them with information about McKane after seeing media coverage of the shooting.

Hinojosa said McKane purchased tires and wheels from the company and made payments for the items.

There were marks on McKane’s car that were analyzed and found to be paint transfers from a parking arm.

Eventually, the jury came back with a guilty verdict in just 25 minutes.

But the drama in the courtroom didn’t end there. On the 11th day, a bailiff was asking McKane to leave the courtroom when the convicted killer attacked.

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McKane elbowed the usher in the face as he was handcuffed and the KSAT cameras were rolling. Officers quickly forced McKane into the hallway.


The jury deliberated for 7.5 hours and saw video of McKane attacking the bailiff. They came back and decided that McKane deserved the death penalty.

It was the first death sentence handed down in Bexar County in five years.

KSAT 12’s request to interview McKane on death row was denied.

Marconi’s Legacy

During his testimony, Reeves spoke about his stepfather.

“Ben did so many good things in his lifetime, but no matter how many good things he did in his lifetime, his death will always overshadow the good things because that’s what will be associated with his name,” said Reeves.

At the last moment of Tom’s testimony, he mentioned his brother’s electronic signature.

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“I noticed on his email the greeting Evil Triumphs When Good Men Do Nothing. On first reading I was like what is he trying to tell me? I don’t remember seeing that besides, it looks like I have to do something,” Tom said. “But as I learned a bit more, he had that greeting all the way through and I know it had a specific meaning for him that I’m not sure about, but that’s especially the case for me, especially now.”

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