Texas Executes 11th Inmate This Year Tuesday Night
Continuing its legacy as the state with the most capitol punishments in the country, Texas executed its 11th inmate this year Tuesday night.
35-year-old Juan Martin Garcia was put to death by lethal injection for the 1998 murder of Christian missionary Hugo Solano in Houston. Garcia was also convicted of robbing Solano for $8 before murdering him. While Garcia had admitted to the killing of Solano, he denied that he robbed him, that additional charge that made his case a capitol offense.
18 at the time of the killing, Garcia was a gang member and the leader of the four person group that robbed Solano. Eleazar Mendoza, who was sentenced to 55 years in prison for his part in the robbery and murder, testified that Garcia approached Solano and pointed a gun at him, demanding his money. Garcia claims that it was Mendoza's idea to rob Solano and that the gun went off when Solano resisted,
He punches me. First thing that came through my mind is that the dude is going to try to kill me. He grabbed the gun with both of his hands and it discharged.
Solano was shot four time in the head and neck. Garcia was arrested a week later when he dropped the gun during a traffic stop for a busted headlight. Garcia was released but later arrested again after the gun was matched to the murder. Apart from Garcia and Mendoza, two other men were arrested in connection for the robbery and murder. Raymond McBen was sentenced to 30 years and was paroled last year, while Gabriel Morales was given a life sentence. The four men had already committed a carjacking just prior to the robbery and murder of Solano.
Garcia was linked to eight aggravated robberies and two attempted murders in the weeks leading up to the murder of Solano. Garcia claims that the jury unfairly held it against him that he didn't testify in his own defense. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Garcia's case in March, and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles declined Garcia's plea for clemency by a 5-2 vote.
There are three more executions scheduled in Texas in the next few weeks.
via ABC 13