Sunday, June 10, 2007

March 28, 2007

...where’s my stunt double when you need one”...

Last Meal: Gutierrez, 28, had a final meal request of five cheese enchiladas, two jalapeño peppers, two carne guisada tacos (tacos filled with beef tips in spicy brown gravy), an onion, a tomato, a bunch of grapes, one pint of butter pecan ice cream, strawberry milk and one banana milk shake.

The skinny: Gutierrez was executed for the killing of an Air Force officer during a carjacking 10 years ago.

More skinny: Randy Arroyo purchased a car similar to a Mazda RX-7, and met with Vincent Gutierrez and others at the residence of Christopher Suaste to discuss his desire to steal a Mazda RX-7 for parts. The following morning, Suaste, Arroyo, and Gutierrez drove to a nearby apartment complex where a red Mazda RX-7 owned by an Air Force captain.

As the captain was getting into his car for work, Gutierrez and Arroyo forced their way in at gunpoint and drove away from the complex. The man tried to escape and at Arroyo's urging Gutierrez shot their captive. When the mortally wounded man began choking and coughing up blood, Gutierrez said he didn't want to ride around with a dead man, so he heaved the man from the moving car. His body was dumped on the shoulder of Interstate 410 during a morning rush hour and the car was abandoned. The first person to pull over to assist the captain was a military flight surgeon, but little could be done to save the victim, who had been shot from behind, the bullet ripping through his heart. Less than two hours later, the captain, 39, died at a hospital.

Later, Gutierrez laughingly explained the murder to friends. He was seen later the day of the shooting wearing a T-shirt and shorts with Air Force logos. The clothing had come from the back of the victim's car. Gutierrez — known to his friends as "Flaco," Spanish for "Skinny" — had been free just two weeks after spending two months in a prison boot camp for a burglary conviction.

The aftermath: The crime was reported on that evening's news. Arroyo and Suaste went to the police and voluntarily confessed involvement in the murder. They led police to the .357 caliber handgun Gutierrez had used to kill with, as well as the .25 caliber handgun Arroyo had carried during the robbery and kidnapping.

Arroyo was also sentenced to death, but his death sentence was commuted to life after the U.S. Supreme Court two years ago ruled people could not be executed for crimes committed when they were under the age of 18. Gutierrez was 18.

Suaste is serving a 35-year prison sentence for aggravated robbery.

From death row: In an interview from death row given in November 2006, Gutierrez said that he was afraid of going to prison if the victim escaped and could identify him. "So I went ahead and shot him twice," Gutierrez said. He said he felt no remorse over the death. "In order for me to be remorseful, I have to feel for somebody, and I didn't know him, so I don't feel for him."

In the interview, Gutierrez also warned that if he got out of prison, "I'd create havoc in Texas."

Last words and such: “I would like to tell everybody that I’m sorry about the situation that happened. My bad — everybody is here because of what happened." It was unclear from his statement whether he was apologizing for the fatal shooting. He thanked his family for their support and gave one final sendoff to his brother, Phillip: “My brother, where’s my stunt double when you need one,” he said with a laugh. He then said a brief prayer as the lethal drugs began to flow.

Phillip Gutierrez could be heard championing his brother after Vincent took his final breath. “That’s a good man, right there. A damn good man,” Phillip Gutierrez said. “He paid his debt like a man.” Sister Doris Moore, spiritual advisor to the Gutierrez family, likened Vincent Gutierrez’s execution to the act of a terrorist. “This is so inhuman,” she said. “We’re just like terrorists.”

Factoids: Gutierrez was the...

11th murderer executed in U.S. in 2007
1068th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
10th murderer executed in Texas in 2007
389th murderer executed in Texas since 1976