Family member takes stand in murder trial

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It is the defense’s turn to take over questioning in the trial of Ronald Santiago, the former mortgage broker accused of killing Greg and Bernadette Ohlemacher in 2005.

Tuesday morning, once again, testimony focused on the Ohlemacher’s daughter.

The detective who gave a polygraph to the Ohlemacher’s daughter, Renee, was on the stand Tuesday.

Renee was in the home when her parents were killed.

The polygraph has played a big role in the trial and in the years leading up to it. Its results were at the center of Tuesday’s talks.

“I believe her raw emotion contributed to inconclusive results, state of being,” Detective Mark Johnson said.

That was Johnson’s reply to prosecutors Tuesday. The prosecutors argue this polygraph test holds no value.

The second witness to take the stand Tuesday was Peter Pierangeli, a polygraph expert in Albuquerque. He says although the test didn’t give an answer one way or the other, it still holds some value.

“It is a valid test. Why? We can still score it … can still solicit information from the test that is very valuable,” said Perangeli.

The defense on the other hand has pointed to Renee in the murders of her father and mother, even though she isn’t the one on trial.

The defense says the inconclusive results of Renee’s lie detector test, which lasted two and a half hours, mean something.

They say Detective Johnson could have stopped the test if he didn’t think Renee was fit to take it.

The defense then shifted gears and called one family member to the stand who gave an emotional testimony as to why she thinks Renee could be involved. She says since day one – she’s had suspicions as to what really happened.

Bernadette Ohlemacher’s sister, Jessica Montoya, told jurors Tuesday things just didn’t add up when it came to the couple’s daughter.

“The way she told me her parents were dead – that didn’t feel right,” Montoya said.

Montoya says when Renee called her in the early morning hours of august 2005, she seemed calm.

Within hours, an emotional Montoya says she feared Renee may played a role in the death of her parents.

Montoya told the courtroom she kept a journal for a little more than a month while Renee was living with her because she still believed she had played a part in the murders. She then turned those notes over to Albuquerque police, she says, so they could research all facets of the crime.

The defense was hoping to get to one other family member on the stand Tuesday afternoon, but things wrapped up a little before 4:30 p.m.

On Monday, the defense said they expected to only take three days to get through their side. 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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