Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Jose Santellan Sr.

The skinny or "A + B =s, of course, C: After suffering years of torture at the hands of his parents, a Wise County man decided to exact his own punishment on a loved one by killing his girlfriend, an act that cost him his life Wednesday inside the Huntsville "Walls" death chamber.

The excuse/s:Minutes after Jose Santellan Sr. was declared dead by lethal injection for the Aug. 22, 1993 shooting death of nurse assistant Yolanda Garza in a Fredericksburg hospital parking lot, one of his lawyers spoke out about her client.

"I feel that the system has let Mr. Santellan down," said Marcy Hogan Greer, an Austin-based attorney who, since 1998, has represented Santellan. "When juries are deprived of compelling evidence that Mr. Santellan suffered organic brain damage and years of child abuse, they have no opportunity to show mercy.

The Crime: According to evidence presented by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Santellan, 40, was charged with capital murder for intentionally shooting Garza, 31, to death in the course of an aborted kidnapping attempt.

After emerging from the shadows of a nearby hospital trash bin, Santellan attempted first to speak to his former girlfriend. When his attempts at conversation failed, Santellan pulled out a .25-caliber pistol and shot her four times.

After shooting Garza, Santellan proceeded to load her body and backpack into his car. Fleeing the scene, he drove to the Hill Country Motel in Camp Wood and rented a room.

The killer's "bizarre treatment" of Garza then took another turn. After cleaning the body and pouring perfume over it to conceal the growing stench, he repeatedly engaged in sexual intercourse with the corpse. Afterward, he dressed it in his underwear.

Santellan later admitted that his sexual acts were motivated by a desire to "show how much I really loved her."

Shortly after midnight on Aug. 24, police officers arrived at the motel room and found Santellan alone with the body. Upon his arrest, he readily confessed to the crime.

Last Words: "First of all, I would like to apologize to the Guajardo family even though they are not present," Santellan said as he spoke into a microphone that dangled above his chin. "I loved Yolanda a lot. I hope and pray they can forgive me for all the pain."

The Menu: 12 pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes with brown gravy, 2 rolls with butter, 2 Pepsi, 1 pint of strawberry ice cream, and 1 pint of vanilla ice cream