Defense: Murder suspect had nothing to gain

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Was Ronald Santiago motivated to kill Albuquerque couple Greg and Bernadette Ohlemacher over whether or not a home loan was approved?

In testimony Tuesday from Santiago’s former mortgage firm boss, defense attorneys argued he had almost nothing to gain from any kind of loan they were looking for.

Attorneys spent the morning finishing their questioning of Jason Pike who oversaw Santiago while he worked at Countrywide Home Loans.

Santiago was working there at the time of the Ohlemacher’s murder.

Pike detailed some home loans the Ohlemachers were looking into, but he said the Ohlemachers weren’t going to qualify for any loans with the firm because of their financial problems.

Santiago was working with the Ohlemachers up until their death. Santiago’s defense honed in on just how much he would stand to make if a loan went through.

According to Pike, it wasn’t that much.

“If the Ohlemachers had qualified for a cash out loan, how much did Ron stand to make?” Natalie Bruce asked Pike in court.

“It’s 10 percent, 10 basis points of the loan amount,” Pike said. “So, let’s assume there was a $200,000, he’d make $200.”

Bruce said Santiago makes $90,000 to $120,000 a year and wouldn’t need the small amount of cash.

The defense argued that Santiago wouldn’t have lost money or been reprimanded if the loan didn’t go through.

Santiago was eventually fired from Countrywide when he was convicted of ripping off a different couple.

That’s what led APD to him for the Ohlemacher murders. None of that will be discussed in court, though.

The defense has been trying to place the blame on Renee. On Tuesday, they focused on her reaction the day her parents were murdered.

Hollie Anderson, the APD officer who testified Tuesday, stood with Renee when she was told her parents were dead.

Santiago’s defense referenced pre-trial interviews with the officer where she said she was very suspicious of Renee right after the crime happened.

“Not just that she was there and in the area, and that everybody in the area could have been considered a suspect, it was because, as you said, because of the demeanor, the fake crying, all of that stuff and the lack of question and concern, true?” Defense attorney Joseph Riggs asked Anderson.

“Yes, sir,” Anderson said.

Anderson was working patrol on the morning the Olemachers were found dead. Her testimony Tuesday indicated that Renee seemed oddly confused when officers arrived.

Anderson said Renee asked very calmly at one point if her parents had a pulse, but asked few other questions. The officer also testified that Renee only began crying when Renee’s aunt began crying over the phone.

The prosecution tried to counter that, saying Anderson now has years as a homicide detective under her belt; she has a new perspective on how people react to death:

“Do you still feel that Renee’s behavior was not consistent with what you think it should have been?” Prosecutor Jason Yamato asked.

Anderson said no.

“Why is that?” Yamato asked.

“I have now learned and personally experienced on death notifications that there’s no saying what type of reaction you should expect,” Anderson said.

The prosecution also called one of the Ohlemachers’ neighbors to the stand Tuesday. That witness focused on Greg Ohlemacher receiving some kind of upsetting phone calls the day before his death.

That questioning will continue Wednesday. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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