TX George Rivas , Donald Newbury get execution dates
Thu Nov 3, 2011 16:40
2 members of Texas 7 gang that engineered infamous prison escape get execution dates • MICHAEL GRACZYK Associated Press • First Posted: November 02, 2011 - 2:54 pm
Houston — Two members of the notorious "Texas 7" gang that engineered the biggest prison escape in the state's history have been scheduled for execution early next year.
George Rivas, 41, the mastermind of the breakout 11 years ago that left a suburban Dallas police officer dead, faces lethal injection in Huntsville on Feb. 29, said Jamille Bradfield, a spokeswoman for theDallas County district attorney's office.
One of his companions, Donald Newbury, 49, is scheduled to be executed Feb. 1.
Both lost appeals of their cases at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in July and both have now asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their cases. Those requests are pending before the high court.
The pair would become the second and third members of the gang put to death. Michael Rodriguez ordered his appeals dropped and in 2008 became the first to be executed.
During the escape on Dec. 13, 2000, the seven overpowered workers at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Connally Unit in Kenedy, about 60 miles south of San Antonio, stole the workers' clothes, broke into the prison armory to get guns and drove away in a prison truck.
They robbed two Houston-area stores and about two weeks later, on Christmas Eve, shot Aubrey Hawkins, 29, an Irving police officer, when he interrupted their robbery of a sporting goods store in theDallas suburb.
The fugitives, already the focus of a nationwide hunt, were caught a month later in Colorado, where one member killed himself. The six others went to Texas death row after separate trials in Dallas.
Hawkins, who was shot 11 times, had been on the police force for just over a year. The gang stole $70,000 in cash from the Irving store, along with 44 firearms and ammunition, winter clothing, jewelry and wallets from employees who were in the process of closing up for the evening.
Rivas was among three arrested at a convenience store near a trailer park in Woodland Park, Colo. Newbury and another fugitive were arrested at a Colorado Springs, Colo., motel. The two remaining escapees were in a motor home at the trailer park. One of them, Larry Harper, killed himself rather than surrender.
Evidence showed Rivas planned the prison break while serving a life sentence for 13 counts of aggravated kidnapping, four counts of aggravated robbery and one of burglary. At his trial, Rivas took full responsibility for the fatal shooting but said he never intended to kill the officer.
Newbury has said he regretted Hawkins' death but didn't regret breaking out of prison. He was serving 99 years for aggravated robbery.
Appeals for Patrick Murphy Jr., Joseph Garcia and Randy Halprin remain pending. Murphy, 50, was serving 50 years for aggravated sexual assault. Garcia, 39, had a 50-year-sentence for murder, and Halprin, 34, was serving 30 years for injury to a child.
Rodriguez, 45 when he was executed, at the time of the break was serving a life term for arranging his wife's murder.
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