death penalty El Paso Stay of execution Texas

Delay of Execution Granted to Rigoberto Avila, Jr.

State District Judge Anna Perez ruled this morning that more time is necessary for Rigoberto Avila, Jr.’s attorneys to explore new scientific evidence that might prove his innocence.  Judge Perez halted his execution, which had been scheduled to take place next week on April 10th; a new date has been set for July 10.

Mr. Avila was sentenced to death for the 2000 murder of 19-month-old Nicolas Macias in El Paso, who he was babysitting along with his four-year-old brother, Dylan Salinas. He has consistently maintained his innocence.

According to Mr. Avila’s current attorney, who was appointed to the case in February, newly discovered, previously unavailable scientific evidence calls into serious question the medical evidence that was presented at trial relating to cause of death. This evidence strongly suggests that the baby died not as a result of intentional acts by Mr. Avila, but because his four-year-old, 38-pound brother, mimicking “worldwide wrestlers” on television, slammed into his body, causing significant internal injuries that eventually led to the child’s death.

This is the second delay of execution for Mr. Avila.  His previous execution date of December 12, 2012 was withdrawn.

Read more from the El Paso Times.