Monday, August 11, 2008

First of “Texas 7” Escapees to Be Executed This Week

Another Texas criminal case that received national attention will be reaching a new stage this week. Most readers will recall the infamous “Texas 7” who escaped from state prison eight years ago with grand plans to travel to Vegas and rob a casino. The men were captured in Colorado, short of their Sin City destination, and the first of the six surviving members (one committed suicide as arresting officers approached) will be put to death in the next few days.

For those not familiar with the story, the soon-to-be-executed Michael Rodriguez and six companions overpowered workers at the prison system’s Connally Unit in South Texas. After retrieving a getaway car left by Rodriguez’s father (now there’s a dad who helps his kid pursue a dream), the seven convicts decided to rob a sporting good store in Irving, Texas. It was at this location that they murdered police officer Aubrey Hawkins (pictured above). While their crimes up to this point were certainly severe, this fatal act of violence sealed their sentence upon capture.

According to Texas state law, the death penalty may be imposed on those found guilty of a capital felony, which means that someone "intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual under special circumstances.” The Texas 7 qualify for more than one of the determined circumstances, since they committed both “murder of a public safety officer” and “murder during the commission of specified felonies (robbery).”

Rodriguez is ready to face the death sentence. He worked for more than a year to cease attempts at any further appeals. In his only interview with the press, Rodriguez said, "I think it's a fair sentence," he added. "I need to pay back. I can't pay back monetarily. This is the way." Understandably, the wife of slain officer Hawkins replied that the apology and feelings of remorse come more than a little late for her husband.

Regardless of the crime for which you have been accused, you are entitled to a strong and aggressive defense. At Bertolino LLP, we have attorneys in Austin, Houston and San Antonio who can protect your rights in court. Contact us and let’s discuss your case.

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