death penalty news—-TEXAS

Feb. 4


Parolee who used bat to kill woman, son executed

A parolee convicted of using a baseball bat to fatally bludgeon his
girlfriend and her teenage son at their home in San Antonio was executed
Wednesday night.

"Nothing I can say can ever change the past," David Martinez said from the
death chamber gurney. "Asking for forgiveness or saying I'm sorry is not
going to change anything. I hope you can find peace from all the pain I've
caused you all these years."

Martinez looked at friends and relatives and told them that he loved them,
advising them to "keep on going and it will be OK."

As the drugs began taking effect, he mouthed, "I'm sorry. I truly am." He
shook his head vigorously, raising it up from the gurney pillow and then
closed his eyes. He was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m., 8 minutes after the
lethal drugs began to flow.

Among the witnesses was Belinda Prado, who was 10 when she witnessed the
murders of her mother and brother. She testified against Martinez at his
trial. An uncle held her as she watched Martinez die and she had to use a
wheelchair to leave the witness room.

Martinez, 36, won permission from the courts to stop appeals attempting to
spare his life.

"I'm not crazy," Martinez said recently from death row as his punishment
neared. "It's not that I've given up. I accept it … Why prolong the

Martinez was on parole after serving 5 months of a 5-year sentence for
attempted sexual assault when he was arrested for the slayings of Carolina
Prado, 37, and her son, Erik, 14. At the time of his arrest at his
grandmother's home in San Marcos, where he fled after the killings, he'd
also been sought for nine months for refusing to report his parole

Prado's younger daughter, Belinda, told a Bexar County jury in 1995 she
saw him beat her brother's head. She said she was awakened by the sound of
the bat.

Martinez ordered her to be quiet or she would meet the same fate, then
tied her up. After he left, the girl freed herself and walked to her
grandmother's house nearby. Rosa Ramirez found her grandson's body then
called San Antonio police, who found Prado's body.

"I feel like it just happened," Ramirez, 72, told the San Antonio
Express-News, adding that she has forgiven her daughter's former
boyfriend. "God says you have forgive to be forgiven."

Martinez told officers who arrested him that he "killed them just like
cockroaches." In a statement to police, he said the slayings occurred
after he drank a 12-pack of beer and a large bottle of rum. He later
testified at his trial, however, that police coerced him into making a
confession and denied any role in their deaths.

From prison, he wouldn't discuss the crime.

"I'm not insensitive to the victims' family, to my family, but nobody
wins," he said. "There are some things not meant to be learned. I don't
mean to be evasive, but what they have to realize is that publicity is not
going to get more out me than that. I'm sorry people are dead, of course."

Martinez, known as "Snoopy" and "Bam Bam," had a lengthy juvenile criminal
history in the Rio Grande Valley that began at age 13 when authorities
said he broke into a neighbor's house and stole her panties. When he was
16 in 1988, he received juvenile probation for 6 burglaries and eventually
was placed with the Texas Youth Commission. 3 years later, he pleaded
guilty to attempted sexual assault for an attack on a McAllen shoe store

He received a probated sentence, then went to prison for probation
violations. He was released on parole and was sought as a parole violator
when he was arrested for the double slaying in San Antonio.

"I'll never forget that guy," A.J. Dimaline, who spent nearly 8 years as a
Bexar County assistant district attorney, said. "He was the baddest person
I ever prosecuted. He claimed he was intoxicated, that the lady befriended
him but got tired of him and was ready to kick him out.

"He was just a mean, mean guy. He has no redeeming qualities and doesn't
deserve to take another breath, in my opinion."

Martinez becomes the 6th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
Texas and the 429th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on
December 7, 1982. Martinez becomes the 190th condemned inmate to be put to
death in Texas since Rick Perry was elected governor in 2001.

2 more executions are set for next week in Texas.

Dale Scheanette, 35, is set to die Tuesday for the Christmas Eve 1996
rape-slaying of Wendie Prescott, 22, a teacher's aide, at her apartment in
Arlington. 2 days later, Johnny Ray Johnson, 51, faces lethal injection
for the 1995 rape-slaying of a Houston woman, Leah Joette Beane, 41.

Martinez becomes the 9th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 1145th overall since the nation resumed executions on
January 17, 1977.

(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)