Suspect in San Antonio ‘Cop Killing’ Got Married Hours After the Shooting…And It Could Change the Trial

On Sunday a San Antonio police officer was killed after a man shot him twice in the head while he was in his vehicle writing up a traffic violation. Police Chief McManus called the ambush on Detective Benjamin Marconi a “targeted attack.”

The suspect was identified as 31-year-old Otis Tyrone McKane and was apprehended on Monday at 4:20 p.m.

When McKane was being taken into custody, he expressed that he was upset at “society” because of a custody battle he was involved in.

Saying he was “sorry,” he told reporters:

“I lashed out at somebody that didn’t deserve it.”

As the investigation of the case continues, more details are being revealed. The most recent, however, has the potential to alter the course of the trial.

Just hours before the suspect was apprehended, he got married.

Documents obtained by CNN show that McKane married 27-year-old Christian Chanel Fields on November 21, 2016.

KHOU11 posted a photo of the marriage license on reporter, Jason Miles’s Facebook page:

Accused San Antonio cop killer Otis McKane married a Houston woman between the time of officer Benjamin Marconi's murder and his arrest. Here's a copy of the marriage license. I'm live with more on #khou11

Posted by Jason Miles KHOU on Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Texas has a mandatory 72-hour waiting period between receiving a marriage license and having a ceremony. However, Bexar County court documents show that the judge who married the couple performed the ceremony right after issuing the marriage license, thereby waiving Texas’s 72-hour waiting period.

An application for waiver of the 72-hour waiting period in Fort Bend County, Texas, states that:

“The Applicants have provided the following good cause for the marriage to take place during the seventy-two (72) hour period immediately following the issuance of the marriage license…”

According to NBC, the judge gave no reason for the waiver.

The suspect was apprehended later that day in a white Buick at 4:20 p.m., a vehicle that is reportedly owned by his new wife. It’s also been reported that a woman and a 2-year-old child were in the car with the suspect at the time of his arrest, although it has not been confirmed if the woman was his new wife.

Below is a timeline of the events that occurred:

San Antonio Timeline
Image Credit: Independent Journal Review

While the marital status of the suspect may seem insignificant, it could have large implications on the trial.

Marital Privilege, as recognized by Supreme Court, grants spouses the following privileges:

1) Testimonial privilege: in criminal cases, one spouse may refuse to testify against his/her defendant spouse.  The witness spouse alone may choose to waive the privilege.

2) Communications privilege: in both criminal and civil cases, communications between spouses during the marriage are privileged.  This applies to both words and acts intended to be a private communication. The burden is on the opposing party to prove otherwise.

All of this means Christian Chanel Fields cannot be forced to testify against Otis Tyrone McKane nor can any of their communication be used in the trial.

It’s unclear if Fields had any involvement in aiding McKane or is privy to any information about the crime, but their new marriage may prove beneficial for McKane during the trial either way.

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