Texas carries out its first execution of the year

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Texas Executes Man Convicted Of Murdering 3 In San Antonio.

This undated handout photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Arnold Prieto. HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A 41-year-old Texas prisoner was put to death Wednesday evening for the slayings of three people during a robbery at their San Antonio home more than 21 years ago.

Prieto was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to die for the fatal stabbings of Rodolfo Rodriguez, 72, his wife, Virginia, 62, and Paula Moran, their 90-year-old former nanny who lived with them. Arnold Prieto, who spurned a plea deal for a sentence of less than life in prison, became the first inmate to receive a lethal injection this year in Texas, which carried out 10 executions in 2014. The slayings went unsolved until informant’s tip sent San Antonio police to Carrollton, a north Dallas suburb, where a grandnephew of the slain couple implicated himself, his brother and Prieto. Prieto went with two other men to the home of an aunt and uncle of these men before stabbing the aunt, uncle and a 92-year-old woman who was there with screwdrivers, according to the office of Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general.

Authorities said Prieto told them he and brothers Jesse and Guadalupe Hernandez believed the Rodriguezes had about $10,000 cash used for a check-cashing business they operated out of their home. Prieto told police the three had been using cocaine and continued to do so during their 300-mile drive from the Dallas suburb of Carrollton to San Antonio. Even if some of the executions do not occur, it still seems likely that over the course of the year, Texas will carry out at least as many executions as any other state. Prieto was found with other items taken during the robbery and acknowledged to police his involvement in the attacks, Bernard said. “Obviously, most of the effort was to keep those statements from the jury … and mitigate his role in order to save his life,” Bernard said of the defense trial strategy. They also were told he was indicted in January 1994 on federal charges of engaging in organized criminal activity for the theft of 163 laptops worth $676,000 from a Dallas warehouse where he had worked.

Last year was the 18th consecutive year the state executed at least 10 inmates; Missouri is the only other state to reach that number so far this decade. [This post has been updated now that the execution took place.

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