The State Of Texas Executions In The United States
The State of Texas carries out capital punishment more than any other state in the United States. As a matter of fact, Texas is responsible for a third of executions in the U.S., accounting for two and a half more times death penalties than the subsequent leading state.
Texas 2015 Executions
In 2015 alone, Texas has executed 11 out of the 23 offenders executed in the United States. These offenders were all killed through lethal injection. The first person to be executed was Arnold Prieto Jr, on January 21 2015. He was charged with triple murders but maintained his innocence in two of the deaths.
Robert Charles Ladd was executed on 29 January for killing a 38-year old woman almost two decades ago, while he was on parole for slaying. 6 days later, 52-year old Donald Keith Newbury, who was allegedly the most violent of the Texas 7, was also killed for murdering an Irving police officer on Christmas Eve in 2000. A month later, 46-year old Hispanic male, Manuel Vasquez, was also executed for killing Juanita Ybarra, who allegedly refused to pay the gang’s 10% tax for her illegal drug sales.
Kent William Sprouse was the fifth person to be put to death by the Texas justice system, and the first prisoner to be executed with a new batch of drugs. He was convicted for killing a cop. On April 15, another execution took place. Manuel Fernando Garza Jr., was punished by death for killing a San Antonio cop.
Derrick Dewayne Charles, a 32-year old black man was also killed for murdering his 15-year old girlfriend, her mother and grandfather, when he was only 19 years old. On June 3, 67-year old Lester Leroy Bower Jr. was killed. Lester was the state’s oldest inmate whose guilty verdict for shooting four men in a plane hangar 30 years ago, had been fiercely contested. The last two prisoners before the 11th execution were Gregory Lynn Russeau and Daniel Lee Lopez.
The Case of Juan Martin Garcia: The 11th Execution
On September 1998, Hugo Solano was shot to death by Juan Martin Garcia in a robbery that yielded only $8. Solano, who was a Christian missionary from Guadalajara, Mexico, had just moved his family to Houston, Texas. He intended to educate his children in the United States.
Garcia, who was 18 at the time of the incident, apologized to Solano’s relatives in a broken and emotional voice, before he was injected with the lethal pentobarbital. He also reminded his sister and other relatives that he loved them and promised to always be with them.
In his final moments, Garcia found forgiveness. His victim’s wife, Ana, and other relatives told Garcia that they loved him. After the execution, Mrs. Solano expressed her regret stating that she wished the execution had not taken place because she had accepted Garcia’s apology.
Before the execution, Ana Solano had testified at the trial’s penalty phase where she openly denounced any support on a death penalty and instead suggested that Garcia should live, to share lessons he learnt from his mistakes.