death penalty news—-TEXAS

Jan. 28


Man convicted in killing 4 people executed

Texas has executed a former Houston security guard for gunning down 4
people, including his ex-girlfriend and her 2 small children, during a
1996 shooting frenzy.

41-year-old Virgil Martinez was pronounced dead at 6:50 p.m. Wednesday.

Martinez was condemned for the slayings of 27-year-old Veronica Fuentes;
her 5-year-old son, Joshua; 3-year-old daughter, Casandra; and an
18-year-old neighbor, John Gomez.

Lawyers for Martinez had hoped to get the punishment delayed, raising
questions he may be so mentally ill that he could be disqualified for
execution. A state court denied the request.

Martinez becomes the 4th Texas inmate executed this year and the 1st of 2
on consecutive nights this week in the nation's most active death penalty
state. He becomes the 427th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas
since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982, and the 188th
overall to be put to death since Rick Perry became governor in 2001.

Martinez becomes the 6th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 1142nd overall since the nation resumed executions on
January 17, 1977. There are 7 executions currently set to occur in the USA
in February, including 3 in Texas and 1 each in Tennessee, Alabama,
Virginia and South Carolina.

(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)