Saturday, March 25, 2006

MARCH 22, 2006
Robert Salazar Jr.

..."I don't want people to think I'm a bad person for what I did."...

Last meal: Salazar had a final meal request of a dozen tamales, six brownies, refried beans with chorizo, two rollo candies, six hard shell tacos with lettuce, three big red sodas, ketchup, hot sauce, six jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, cheese, and extra ground beef.

The skinny: Salazar was executed for the April 1997 beating death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter.

More skinny: Raylene Blakeburn left her two-year-old daughter with her boyfriend Robert Salazar, while she went to work. When she returned home from work, she found the girl in bed and unconscious, breathing abnormally with blood in her mouth. Salazar was not there because he and a friend had gone to buy beer. Returning from the store, Salazar and his friend saw an ambulance at his girlfriend’s house. They did not stop, but continued on to Salazar’s mother’s house to drink the beer they had purchased. Blakeburn called Salazar at his mother’s house, and he told her not to tell the police that he had been watching the girl. The baby died later that evening.

Salazar later gave a written statement to the police admitting that he had been with the girl while his girlfriend was at work. He claimed that while giving her a shower, he became angry with her because she would not stop crying and he had used the back of his hand to push her down in the bathtub, causing her to fall down and hit her head. Salazar also claimed he had abandoned the baby because he was scared. "I did not mean to hurt (her)," he stated. "I don't want people to think I'm a bad person for what I did."

A pathologist testified that the girl's chest injury surpassed what the pathologist had seen previously in automobile accident injuries; her heart was severely damaged; she suffered severe shaking injuries; several of her ribs were broken; and she suffered injuries consistent with some type of sexual penetration.

Legal issues: Salazar, 18 at the time of his crime, refused a request from The Associated Press for an interview in the weeks before his scheduled execution. Philip Wischkaemper, Salazar's defense attorney during his 1999 trial, said the inmate's mental retardation is behind his lack of remorse. ``We know mentally retarded people have difficulty showing emotion,'' said Wischkaemper, who added tests have shown that Salazar's IQ is probably under 75. The threshold for mental retardation is 70.

Wade Jackson, first assistant district attorney for Lubbock County, said other tests have shown that Salazar's IQ is as high as 102.

Last words and such: ``To everybody on both sides of that wall, I want you to know that I love you both,'' Robert Salazar Jr., said in a final statement, acknowledging his family and the girl's mother and other relatives who were there as witnesses. He looked toward his family during his remarks. ``I am sorry that the child had to lose her life, but I should not have to be here. Tell my family I love them all and I will see them in heaven. Come home when you can.''

Factoids: Salazar was the...

11th murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1015th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
6th murderer executed in Texas in 2006
361st murderer executed in Texas since 1976

Two more executions are scheduled next week.

Raymond Martinez, condemned for the 1983 shooting death of a Houston bar owner during a robbery, is set to be executed Tuesday. Kevin Kincy, condemned for the 1993 murder of a Houston area man during a scheme to rob his home, is set to be executed on Wednesday.