Texas executes man for 1993 triple murder in San Antonio home

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Texas Carries Out First Execution Of The Year.

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A 41-year-old man has been put to death in Texas for the slayings of three people during a robbery at their San Antonio home more than 21 years ago. Arnold Prieto, 41, had originally spurned a plea deal for a sentence of less than life in prison if he would testify against one of his alleged companions, then became the only one to receive the death penalty. Wednesday in the state’s death chamber in Huntsville for the September 1993 stabbing deaths of Rodolfo Rodriguez, 72, his wife, Virginia Rodriguez, 62, and Paula Moran, 90, their former nanny who lived with them.

Each of the victims was stabbed or cut as many as 31 times with an icepick, screwdriver or knife during the attack at the victims’ home in San Antonio. Their September 1993 slayings went unsolved for about seven months before an informant’s tip sent San Antonio police to suburban Dallas, where a grandnephew of the slain couple implicated himself, his brother and Prieto. Prieto and brothers Guadalupe and Jesse Hernandez, who were the Rodriguez’s great nephews, were arrested near Dallas seven months after the killings. 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. When her husband tried to help her, Prieto pushed him down on a bed and held him down, stabbing him “a lot of times” with a screwdriver that Jesse Hernandez handed him, documents show.

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. The brothers introduced Prieto to cocaine and often mentioned their rich uncle, who they described as a loan shark with a closet full of money, according to court documents. 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. The three robbed the house of jewelry and cash, during which Jesse stabbed the Rodriguez’s 90-year-old family friend, Paula Moran, eight different times.

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