ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Defense attorneys for an Albuquerque mortgage processor accused of killing Bernadette and Greg Ohlemacher continue their questioning of the couple’s daughter.
Ronald Santiago is on trial for murder. His defense is trying to prove Renee Ohlemacher was somehow responsible for her parents’ deaths because she needed money.
Santiago’s defense attorney continued grilling Renee Ohlemacher on Monday morning, questioning her about her plan to pay for out of state college.
Greg and Bernadette Ohlemacher were murdered in their home in 2005 when Renee was 19.
In court Monday, Santiago’s attorney brought up documents from the University of Oregon, showing tuition was supposed to cost more than $20,000 a year. He said her parents weren’t able to pay for the tuition because they were bankrupt. Renee said she didn’t know anything about that.
According to interviews with police, Renee said that going to the school was a sure thing. But according to Santiago’s defense attorney, what was going on behind the scenes was much different and she had a motivation to get her parents half-million-dollar life insurance policy.
The defense also pointed to Renee’s journal where she wrong negative things about her parents.
“Do you have any memory in there any where of having said you loved your parents, you thanked your parents, you appreciated your parents?” asked Santiago’s attorney, Joseph Riggs.
Renee said she did all of that in person and wrote in her journal as a way to vent.
The defense claims Renee when on a $1,500 spending spree in Las Vegas, Nev., about a year after her parents’ death, but she says she doesn’t remember spending the money.
Prosecuters maintain Renee is innocent, and her attorney, Jason Yamato, reminded the jury Monday that she was cleared as a suspect by police.
Renee was on the stand for three days and maintains she woke up to screams and gunshots, and then found her parents dead.
At the end of the day Monday, prosecutors tried to put the spotlight back on Santiago, calling Jason Pike, his former boss at Countrywide, to the stand. According to the state, the Ohlemachers were refinancing with Santiago’s mortgage company and threatened to call the cops when they didn’t get their money.
Pike says Santiago seemed to react to the Ohlemachers murders on a personal level.
“He bowed his head, and put his hand over his eyes and was kind of like shaken a little bit, and he mentioned that he had been working with them,” said Pike.
Pike says when he kept hearing police had no leads on the news, he told Santiago two or three times to try to help.
“We had mentioned that maybe it’s a good idea to call the police department and let them know you were working on the transaction. It might give ’em some leads,” Pike said.
Countrywide fired Santiago when he was convicted of ripping off a different couple. That case led APD to Santiago for the Ohlemacher murders. But the jury in this case will not be allowed hear about any of that.
The defense has said that Santiago has no motive for the killings. Prosecutors are using Pike to try to show that Santiago had more dealings with the Ohlemachers than he’s admitted to.