Execution scheduled for El Pasoan responsible for biggest Texas prison breakout Adriana M. Chávez / El Paso Times Posted: 11/18/2011 11:24:35 AM MST
Execution scheduled for El Pasoan responsible for biggest Texas prison breakout
El Pasoan George Rivas, who has been called the ringleader of the biggest prison breakout in Texas history, is scheduled to die by lethal injection early next year.
In 2002, a Dallas jury convicted Rivas, who led a group of prison escapees dubbed the Texas 7, and sentenced him to death in the slaying of Irving Officer Aubrey Hawkins.
Hawkins was shot 11 times and run over twice during a holdup on Dec. 24, 2000, by the Texas 7, who had escaped from the Conally Unit prison in Kenedy, Texas, on Dec. 13, 2000.
Rivas helped the 6 other convicts escape from the prison. The men, including another former El Pasoan Larry Harper, led local, state and federal authorities on a monthlong chase. Police captured 6 in late January, 2001 in Colorado.
Harper killed himself rather than be arrested by police.
Rivas had been serving a life sentence after being convicted by an El Paso jury on 13 counts of aggravated kidnapping with a deadly weapon, 4 counts of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, and one count of burglary of a habitation.
Rivas participated in an April 1993 gang robbery of an El Paso Oshman's. During that robbery, in which Rivas and 2 men used walkie-talkies to communicate, employees were handcuffed while the men robbed the store of guns and money.
1 month later, Rivas and the same 2 men tried to rob the West Side Toys "R" Us using guns stolen from the El Paso Oshman's.
After a 3-hour standoff at the Toys "R" Us, police found Rivas hiding on the roof of the store.
Rivas has also been implicated in more than a dozen aggravated robberies since 1987 in West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, according to court records. Police said Rivas was heavily armed during each heist.
During Rivas' capital murder trial in Dallas, he pleaded with jurors to give him the death penalty.
"I don't want to just exist anymore like an animal in prison," Rivas said.
Another member of the Texas 7, Donald Newbury, is scheduled to be executed Feb. 1. Rivas' execution has been set for Feb. 29.
Adriana M. Chávez may be reached at email@example.com; 546-6117.
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