On Friday, July 19, 2013, the jury in the capital murder trial of Obel Cruz-Garcia determined that he should be put to death for kidnapping and killing six-year old Angelo Garcia, Jr., in 1992. Read more about the case in the Houston Chronicle.
This is the first new death sentence out of Harris County since 2011. While Dallas County leads the state in new death sentences in the past five years (8), Harris County and Tarrant County are close behind (6). Cruz-Garcia will be the 100th person convicted in Harris County currently awaiting execution on death row. Since 1982, 118 people convicted in Harris County have been put to death.
The last death sentence imposed on a white defendant in Harris County occurred in November 2004, when serial killer Anthony Shore was sent to death row. Since then, juries in the county have imposed death sentences on 12 African American defendants and 2 Hispanic defendants, including Obel Cruz-Garcia. Read more about the death penalty in Texas, including troubling statistics about the racial disparities in sentencing, in our 2012 Annual Report, which includes a map of death sentences by county.
This is the sixth new sentence in Texas to date in 2013. Juries sentenced nine men to death in 2012.