Preparations begin on long-delayed double murder trial

Posted at: 01/08/2014 10:23 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A long-awaited double-murder trial is set to begin next week. Jury selection in a case against Ronald Santiago will start Monday, December 13. Santiago is accused of killing John and Bernadette Ohlemacher in their Paradise Hills home in 2005.

The trial has been delayed multiple times, in part because of disagreements over what evidence to allow and accusations that a search by police was illegal.

The Ohlemachers were found dead by gunshot wounds. Santiago was accused of killing them a year later, when he came forward to authorities and confessed to fraud.

Police say he was working at Countrywide Loans when he defrauded another couple. Countrywide Loans says they did not know what he was doing. While investigating his fraud confession, police made the connection to a home refinancing he was doing with the Ohlemachers. Police believe Santiago killed them to cover his tracks after trying to steal their money.

The crime shook a normally quiet West side neighborhood and pushed the Ohlemacher’s family to speak out at the time, begging for justice – but there were delays. Santiago’s attorneys challenged whether a search of his home was legal, and there were battles over whether to admit polygraph test with the Ohlemachers’ daughter.

Now, nine years later, Santiago will finally face a judge and jury.