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US border agent pleads not guilty to killing 4 Texas women

Published
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Webb County Sheriff's Office shows U.S. Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz. Ortiz has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the Sept. 2018 killings of four women who prosecutors say were sex workers. Ortiz entered the pleas Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, before a judge in the border city of Laredo. (Webb County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

LAREDO, Texas (AP) — A U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the September killings of four women who prosecutors say were sex workers.

Juan David Ortiz entered the pleas Thursday before a judge in the border city of Laredo. He is accused of killing Melissa Ramirez, Claudine Luera, Guiselda Alicia Cantu and Janelle Ortiz. Each was shot in the head and left along rural Laredo-area roads. One died of blunt force trauma after being shot.

Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz has said he'll seek the death penalty if Ortiz is convicted of capital murder.

Alaniz contends that Ortiz told investigators he was "doing a service" by killing the women and that he didn't think law enforcement was doing enough to curb prostitution.

Juan David Ortiz appears at the 406 District Court for his arraignment on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, at the Webb County Justice Center in Laredo, Texas. Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas, has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the Sept. 2018 killings of four women who prosecutors say were sex workers. (Danny Zaragoza/The Laredo Morning Times via AP)
Juan David Ortiz appears at the 406 District Court for his arraignment on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, at the Webb County Justice Center in Laredo, Texas. Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas, has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the Sept. 2018 killings of four women who prosecutors say were sex workers. (Danny Zaragoza/The Laredo Morning Times via AP)
The mother of one of the victims yells at Juan David Ortiz as he leaves the 406 District Court after his arraignment on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, at the Webb County Justice Center in Laredo, Texas. Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas, has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the Sept. 2018 killings of four women who prosecutors say were sex workers. (Danny Zaragoza/The Laredo Morning Times via AP)
Juan David Ortiz appears at the 406 District Court for his arraignment on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, at the Webb County Justice Center in Laredo, Texas. Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas, has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the Sept. 2018 killings of four women who prosecutors say were sex workers. (Danny Zaragoza/The Laredo Morning Times via AP)
Juan David Ortiz appears at the 406 District Court for his arraignment on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, at the Webb County Justice Center in Laredo, Texas. Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas, has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the Sept. 2018 killings of four women who prosecutors say were sex workers. (Danny Zaragoza/The Laredo Morning Times via AP)
Juan David Ortiz appears at the 406 District Court for his arraignment on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, at the Webb County Justice Center in Laredo, Texas. Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas, has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the Sept. 2018 killings of four women who prosecutors say were sex workers. (Danny Zaragoza/The Laredo Morning Times via AP)
Juan David Ortiz appears at the 406 District Court for his arraignment on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, at the Webb County Justice Center in Laredo, Texas. Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas, has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the Sept. 2018 killings of four women who prosecutors say were sex workers. (Danny Zaragoza/The Laredo Morning Times via AP)
The mother of one of the victims yells at Juan David Ortiz as he leaves the 406 District Court after his arraignment on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, at the Webb County Justice Center in Laredo, Texas. Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas, has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the Sept. 2018 killings of four women who prosecutors say were sex workers. (Danny Zaragoza/The Laredo Morning Times via AP)
The mother of one of the victims yells at Juan David Ortiz as he leaves the 406 District Court after his arraignment on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, at the Webb County Justice Center in Laredo, Texas. Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas, has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the Sept. 2018 killings of four women who prosecutors say were sex workers. (Danny Zaragoza/The Laredo Morning Times via AP)
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Webb County Sheriff's Office shows U.S. Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz. Ortiz has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the Sept. 2018 killings of four women who prosecutors say were sex workers. Ortiz entered the pleas Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, before a judge in the border city of Laredo. (Webb County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Webb County Sheriff's Office shows U.S. Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz. Ortiz has pleaded not guilty to capital murder and other charges in the Sept. 2018 killings of four women who prosecutors say were sex workers. Ortiz entered the pleas Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, before a judge in the border city of Laredo. (Webb County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)