Murder trial underway after 8 years

Accused killer Ronald Santiago faces jury

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – After more than eight years, the trial for a former loan processor accused of murdering two clients has finally started.

John and Bernadette Ohlemacher were found dead in their Albuquerque home in 2005 and police say Ronald Santiago pulled the trigger.

Both sides have been waiting a long time for this day, and this afternoon, they gave their opening statements.

“Ladies and gentlemen, in this case, after you see all the evidence and hear all the testimony, I’m going to ask you to find the defendant guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, aggravated burglary and tampering with evidence,” said one of the prosecuting lawyers as he wrapped his opening statement.

Santiago was working on the Ohlemacher’s mortgage in the summer of 2005.

The prosecution claims during the process Santiago swindled them, then shot and killed them to cover his tracks. On Wednesday, they pointed to a shell casing found at Santiago’s home that matched the casings found at the crime scene.

The defense has long argued, and did again Wednesday, that Santiago had no motive to kill the couple with nothing to benefit from murdering them.

They pointed fingers at Renee Ohlemacher, the couple’s daughter who was 19 years old when they were found dead.

They claim Renee despised her parents, wanted to move away and benefited from their half-a-million dollar insurance policy.

The defense says Santiago’s name will be cleared.

“He expects redemption,” Natalie Bruce said. “To see and hear positive, physical evidence and a hear a black hole lack of evidence.”

The case has been delayed years because of challenges to evidence and the way police handled their investigation. The trial is expected to last three to four weeks.

Things start back up again at 9 a.m. Thursday. The defense says Renee may take the stand.

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