On September 10, 2019 Texas executed Mark Soliz for the 2010 home robbery and shooting death of a North Texas woman. The execution was the sixth in Texas this year and the third in the last month. Nine more are scheduled through December, reported the Texas Tribune.
Soliz, 37, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2012 for the murder of Nancy Weatherly, 61, and the robbery of her Johnson County home, according to court records. Prosecutors said the murder was part of an eight-day crime spree during which Soliz and another man, Jose Ramos, robbed random people at gunpoint, and Soliz killed another man.
Soliz and his lawyers had long argued that his life should be spared because he had fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which they claimed is the “functional equivalent” of an intellectual disability, a condition the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled disqualifies individuals from execution. Both state and federal courts rejected the claim during Soliz’s relatively short seven years on death row.
Shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday, Soliz was taken into the execution chamber in Huntsville and placed on a gurney. Soliz was apologetic in his final words, addressing Weatherly's family members.
"I wanted to apologize for the grief and the pain that I caused y’all," Soliz said. "I’ve been considering changing my life. It took me 27 years to do so. Man, I want to apologize, I don’t know if me passing will bring y’all comfort for the pain and suffering I caused y’all. I am at peace."
He was then injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital, the only drug used in Texas executions. He was pronounced dead at 6:32 p.m.
In June 2010, prosecutors said, Soliz and Ramos terrorized residents in the Fort Worth area for eight days before they were arrested on suspicion of one of several crimes, including multiple robberies, carjackings and shootings, another of which was fatal. When police interrogated Ramos about one stolen car, he began talking about another crime — in which he said the two men forced their way into Weatherly’s house in Godley at gunpoint, and Soliz shot her in the back of the head as they robbed her home.
Soliz initially denied killing Weatherly, telling police he was outside by the car when he heard a gunshot and then saw Ramos exit the house. Later during the interrogation, he said he would confess “just to get this over with,” according to a 2014 ruling from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. A friend of Soliz’s later said he bragged to her about killing an “old lady.” Ramos received life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder.
At his trial and in his appeals to state and federal courts, Soliz repeatedly raised the claim that he should not have been executed because of his disorder. Several defense experts testified before the jury that he was diagnosed with partial fetal alcohol syndrome, which his lawyers claim caused mental impairments like lack of impulse control, serious adaptive learning deficits and hyper-suggestibility. But the testimony did not keep the jury from handing down a death sentence, and appellate courts did not interfere, partially because the claim was raised at trial and failed.
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