Dec. 5 (UPI) -- A Texas grand jury indicted a Border Patrol agent who confessed to shooting and killing four women on a capital murder charge Wednesday.
Webb County District Attorney Isidro R. Alaniz's office said the grand jury upgraded four counts of murder against Juan David Ortiz, 35, to a single count of capital murder because a person "commits capital murder if the person intentionally or knowingly causes the death of more than one individual during different criminal transactions but pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct."
"The scheme in this case from Ortiz's own words was to clean up the streets of Laredo by targeting this community of individuals who he perceived to be disposable, that no one would miss and that he did not give value to," Alaniz said.
Capital murder is punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Alaniz said Ortiz was a self-proclaimed vigilante who "preyed on the weak, the sick and the vulnerable," as all of his victims were drug users or involved in sex work.
He added prosecutors were seeking the death penalty against Ortiz, a Navy veteran who had worked with border patrol for 10 years, due to the "horrific nature of the murders, his complete disregard for human life, his vigilante mentality."
"He violated his oath to his country and to his agency," Alaniz said.
Authorities identified Ortiz's victims as Melissa Ramirez, 29, Claudine Ann Luera, 42, Guiselda Alicia Hernandez, 35 and Janelle Ortiz, 28, a transgender woman. All four were killed between Sept. 3 and Sept. 14.
Ortiz was arrested after a woman he kidnapped escaped from his pickup truck and sought help from authorities.
In September, Webb County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Federico Garza said 35-year-old Juan David Ortiz had a "full house of weapons" in Texas, which he intended to use in a confrontation with Department of Public Safety officers.
Bond for Ortiz was set at $2.5 million dollars and an arraignment hearing is pending.