The 5th Execution of 2017
Texas executed condemned contract killer Rolando Ruiz, Jr., on March 7, 2017-- the state's third lethal injection in the past two months, reported UPI.
Prison officials at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville administered the lethal drugs at around 10:30 p.m., not long after the Supreme Court's decision. He was pronounced dead 29 minutes later.
Ruiz previously received two stays of execution from federal and state appeals courts. Monday, a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit denied another request for a stay and the United States' highest court followed suit late Tuesday.
Ruiz, 44, was tried and convicted of the 1992 contract killing of Theresa Rodriguez, which was orchestrated by her husband, Michael, and his brother, Mark, in order to collect on her $400,000 life insurance policy.
Ruiz showed remorse for the 29-year-old woman's death in his final statement Tuesday night.
"I would like to say to the Sanchez family how sorry I am. Words cannot begin to express how sorry I am and the hurt that I have caused you and your family," he told the woman's relatives just moments before his execution began. "To my family, thank you for all your love and support. I am at peace.Jesus Christ is Lord. I love you all."
Two of Theresa Rodriguez's sisters and two brothers in-law witnessed the execution, as did an acquaintance and half-brother of Ruiz's.
Rolando Ruiz, Jr., had previously received two stays of execution from federal and state courts. A federal judge, however, denied a request for another this week. Photo courtesy Texas Department of Criinal Justice
"There's never closure," the victim's father, Eddie Sanchez, said Monday. "It's not going to bring my daughter back."
Detectives found during their criminal investigation that Ruiz was paid $2,000 to kill Rodriguez when she returned home from an outing with her husband and brother in-law, who were in on the plot, on July 14, 1992. She was shot once in the face by Ruiz, who ambushed her while she sat in a car in the driveway of her San Antonio home.
The Rodriguez brothers pleaded guilty in the case and received life in prison. Ruiz, who was 20 at the time of the crime, was given a death sentence after a jury found him guilty of capital murder in May 1995.
Michael Rodriguez was later a member of the Texas Seven, a group of prisoners who escaped from a prison in east central Texas in 2000. He was executed eight years later for killing a police officer during the escape.
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