Last night, January 26, the State of Texas carried out its first execution of 2012. Rodrigo Hernandez, 38, originally on parole in Michigan, had his DNA linked to the crime for which he was sentenced to death in 2002. The victim, Susan Verstegan, was sexually assaulted and strangled in 1994 in San Antonio. It was the second execution in the nation, following the January 5 execution of Gary Welch in Oklahoma. Read more.
The night prior to Hernandez’s execution, another death row inmate, Donald Newbury, was granted a stay by the U.S. Supreme Court. Newbury had been scheduled to be executed on February 1. The reason for the stay is related to death row inmates’ initial appeals and the lack of legal assistance that was provided to Newbury. This comes at a time when a similar case is before the Supreme Court from Arizona. Newbury’s current lawyers argued that their client should be granted a stay until a decision is made on the Arizona case. Read more.
Newbury was convicted of killing a police officer, Aubrey Hawkins, from Irving in 2000 when he escaped along with 6 other prisoners.