TX: Robert “Bones” Garza Execution date set for Sept. 19
Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:00
Execution date set in Edinburg massacre, Donna slayings Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013 5:00 am Posted on April 12, 2013 by Jacqueline Armendariz
EDINBURG — A Tri-City Bombers gang member convicted of killing several Donna women four months before authorities said he helped shoot and kill six men during the Edinburg massacre is set to be executed this fall.
Robert “Bones” Garza, 30, was convicted of two counts of capital murder in December 2003, but the charges were not related to the Edinburg slayings. Authorities linked the Tri-City Bombers and Garza to the September 2002 shootings deaths of four women in Donna. A jury found Garza guilty in the Donna case.
His execution date is Sept. 19, said Ted Hake, chief of the appellate division of the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office. Hake said capital murder charges were not brought against Garza in connection to the Edinburg killings because he had already been sentenced to death in the Donna case. He said authorities identified him as a shooter in the Edinburg massacre. All court appeals for Garza’s death sentence were exhausted when the Supreme Court denied his case in February. However, there is still the possibility that his execution could be postponed or stayed.
Hake said a death warrant for Garza was expected to be delivered Friday to the Huntsville prison, where the state carries out its executions.
Three other men involved in the Edinburg massacre also on death row: Humberto “Gallo” Garza, 38; Rodolfo “Creeper” Medrano, 33, and Juan “Ram” Ramirez-Navarro, 29.
According to court records, Robert Garza was among four men who targeted six women in Donna as they left Garcia’s Bar in 2002 after working their shift as bar maids. The victims killed were Maria De La Luz Bazaldua Cobarrubias, Danitzene Vasquez Beltran, Celina Linares Sanchez and Lurdes Araujo Torres.
State prosecutors said another TCB gang member had ordered a hit on the women, who he believed were called to testify against him in an unrelated attempted murder case. But, the gang members had mistakenly killed the wrong women, authorities said.
Court records state Garza told Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office deputies of his involvement in the crime — admitting he witnessed and knew of the plot, but not that he fired a gun. He also told deputies another gang member had said the assassination wasn’t carried out correctly.
A jury convicted him of the crime under the law of parties, meaning it was not necessary to prove he fired the fatal shots. He was held equally responsible for the murders because he was present.
A dozen men were indicted for their alleged roles in the rural Edinburg killings that shocked the Rio Grande Valley in 2003. Four days after the New Year, a group of men barged into a Monte Cristo Road home wearing jackets with the word “police” demanding money, gold, drugs and jewelry.
Humberto Garza, a former captain in the Tri-City Bombers gang, told investigators he plotted to raid the stash house occupied by rival Texas Chicano Brotherhood gang members, but that he had never ordered anyone killed.
The attack left the following dead: Jerry Hidalgo, Juan Delgado III, Juan Delgado Jr., Jimmy Almendarez, Ray Castillo and Ruben Castillo, court records state. Hidalgo’s mother and brother and another man survived.
Some charged in the case pleaded guilty to serve life in prison and others like Garza are on death row since their convictions in 2004, according to Monitor archives. Authorities believe at least two others charged in the murders fled to Mexico: Ricardo “Rica” Martinez and Juan “Perro” Nuñez, archives show.
Charges against three men were dropped in 2006 for lack of evidence and one man was acquitted, archives show. -- Jacqueline Armendariz covers law enforcement and courts for The Monitor. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org and (956) 683-4434 or on Twitter, @jarmendariz.