The State of Texas carried out its first execution of 2015 on Wednesday, January 21, putting Arnold Prieto to death for the 1993 robbery and murders of Rudolfo and Virginia Rodriguez and Paula Moran, a family friend, at the home of the San Antonio couple. Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez were relatives of Prieto’s two companions that night, brothers Guadalupe and Jessie Hernandez. Jessie Hernandez, who was 16 at the time of the crime, is serving a life sentence, while Guadalupe, the alleged mastermind of the robbery and murders, was never charged due to insufficient evidence.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, “prosecutors offered Prieto a plea deal to testify against him [Guadalupe Hernandez] in exchange for two 30-year sentences” but Prieto rejected the offer.
The State of Texas is scheduled to carry out two more executions next week:
- On January 28, Garcia White is scheduled to be put to death for the 1989 stabbing deaths of Bonita Edwards and her 16-year-old twin daughters, Annette and Bernette, in their Houston home. He was convicted in 1996.
- On January 29, Robert Ladd is scheduled to be executed for the 1996 murder of Vicki Ann Garner in Tyler (Smith County). According to Amnesty International, a U.S. District Court judge held an evidentiary hearing in 2005 on Ladd’s claim that his intellectual disabilities should prohibit his execution. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Atkins v Virginia that individuals with intellectual disabilities are barred from execution. The Court left it to each state, however, to set forth criteria for determining whether an individual is intellectually disabled. The District Court judge later ruled that Ladd has “significantly sub-average intellectual functioning” but the evidence of his adaptive deficits was not compelling enough to grant relief.Learn more about his case from Amnesty International and take action to stop his execution by calling the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Greg Abbott.
Four executions have taken place nationwide to date in 2015: Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas each have put one person to death this year. Both Oklahoma and Georgia have scheduled executions for next week, as well.