Murder trial closing arguments wrap up

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Closing arguments wrapped up Thursday in the double murder trial of Ronald Santiago – the one-time mortgage man accused of killing two of his clients, Greg and Bernadette Ohlemacher.

Santiago is the one facing charges, but just like in the rest of the trial, a lot of time was spent Thursday pointing fingers at the victims’ daughter.

The fate of Santiago is about to be in the hands of a jury. He’s accused of shooting the Ohlemachers to death in their Westside home in 2005.

The state gave its closing arguments first, lasting nearly two hours.

“A family has been destroyed, suffered extreme violence,” said prosecutor Cheyrl Johnston.

Prosecutors say Santiago planned his attack on the couple after they started to suspect something fishy was going on with their mortgage deal.

They pointed to shell casings found at the scene, saying they match one that was found in a bag in Santiago’s garage.

“It was fired from the same weapon that fired casings one through four that killed the Ohlemachers,” Johnston said.

Then the defense came back firing trying to put the same doubts in the jury’s mind that they’ve been hammering home the whole trial.

Santiago’s attorney, Joseph Riggs, painted APD’s investigations as sloppy, adding the story about the shell casings simply doesn’t add up.

Of course the name of the victims’ daughter, Renee Ohlemacher, came up again. The defense points to her inconclusive polygraph test, the insurance she collected and her strange behavior following the murders as reasons to believe she should be blamed for the deaths.

And while the state accused the defense of trying to distract jurors, Riggs says it’s the truth.

“They can misrepresent things how they want, but the truth has a been brought before you,” Riggs said.

The jury can also consider second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter charges instead of first-degree murder.

One of the big questions in this case was whether or not Santiago would take the stand in his defense. In the end, that never happened.

 

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