Monday, May 29, 2006

May 24, 2006

...Aguilar was cut off mid-sentence, stopping his confrontational outburst....

Last Meal: A full meal of enchiladas.

The skinny: Aguilar was executed for the execution-style shooting deaths of a husband and a wife.

More skinny: The couple were shot while staying in a Harlingen trailer home. The murder weapon was a .22 caliber pistol. The couple’s 9-year-old son, who witnessed the shooting, testified that he saw his parents on the floor with two men standing over them.

His 22-month-old brother was asleep in another room. Neither child was harmed during the killings.

Jesus Aguilar sold a .22 revolver after the killings, and police recovered the weapon from a member of the buyer’s family. A police lab concluded that the bullets recovered from the victims’ bodies could have been fired from the gun.

About two weeks after the killings, the boy's grandmother was reading the newspaper when the boy saw a picture and told her that two of the men in the picture were the ones that hurt his parents. His grandfather took him. to the police station where the youth identified Jesus Aguilar and Chris Quiroz as the men who shot his parents.

Quiroz got life in prison.

The why: According to court records, Aguilar and the female victim’s brother, Rick Esparza, were friends who started smuggling marijuana in November 1994 from their homes in South Texas to Mississippi. After Esparza began smuggling drugs for another supplier, Aguilar threatened to kill him if he didn’t stop. While Esparza and his wife delivered a load of drugs to Mississippi in June 1995, his sister and her family agreed to stay and watch his Harlingen-area mobile home. Aguilar and his nephew spent most of the afternoon and evening of June 9, 1995, drinking. They then went to Esparza’s mobile home early the next morning and killed the couple.

Priors: Aguilar was a member of the prison gang the Texas Syndicate, and had a violent history, including wounding a Lubbock County police officer (he served nine years) during a 1983 shooting and assaulting guards and other inmates while in the state prison system.

Last words and such: Not only did Aguilar not show remorse before his death, he mocked his victim’s families and gave a “shout-out” to his fellow gang members.

At the beginning of his statement, Aguilar told his spiritual adviser, "I'm all right," and also in Spanish made reference to the Texas Syndicate, a prison gang he belonged to, telling them to not be depressed by his death.

Aguilar gave a statement just before the lethal dose began to flow alternating between English and Spanish. “I would like to say to my family, I am all right,” he said, looking at his spiritual advisor, and only witness. He then turned to the victims’ families and tried to find Leonardo Chavez Jr., who witnessed the crimes 11 years ago. Leo Jr. did not witness the execution. “Where are you Leo? Are you there, Leo? Don’t lie man.” He then asked the victims’ families if they were happy he was dying. Once the lethal dose began to flow, Aguilar was cut off mid-sentence, stopping his confrontational outburst.

Family members of the slain couple were outraged at the final words, which came in a mixture of Spanish and English. Huntsville Unit Warden Charles O'Reilly silently requested the start of the lethal dosage, cutting off Aguilar's speech, which included praise to the Texas Syndicate prison gang he was a member of.

Michelle Lyons, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said it’s not often inmates have outbursts. “It is more rare that the process begins in the midst of an inmate’s last statements, but when they become verbally abusive or confrontational with the victim’s family, the warden may exercise the option to begin the lethal dose,” she said. “That’s an option that appeared to have been exercised this evening.”

Factoids: Aguliar was the...

20th murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1024th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
10th murderer executed in Texas in 2006
365th murderer executed in Texas since 1976

Fifteen more Texas executions are planned this year.

The family elected not to claim his body, and he will be buried in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison cemetery, a few blocks from where he was executed.