Mike Graczyk/ AP
Monday, Oct. 5, 2015|6:29 p.m.
HOUSTON– A Texas prisoner set to be carried out Tuesday acknowledges fatally shooting a Mexican man who was robbed of $8 and had actually simply moved his family to Houston, but insists he does not deserve to pass away for the killing 17 years earlier.
“This is not a capital case,” Juan Martin Garcia, 35, told the Associated Press last month in a prison interview near Livingston. “I got railroaded given that I didn’t take the stand (to affirm at trial).”
Proof at his 2000 capital murder trial and statement from a friend identified him as the ringleader of four men involved in the September 1998 shooting and robbery of Hugo Solano outside Solano’s apartment complex. The slaying and a string of other violent crimes tied to Garcia, who was 18 at the time of the killing, persuaded a jury he should be put to death.
His deadly injection to be kept in Huntsville would be the 11th this year in Texas, which carries out capital penalty more than any other state. Three more executions are set up in upcoming weeks.
No late appeals seeking to obstruct the execution remained in the courts on Monday. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles declined a clemency petition for Garcia on Friday.
Garcia, his 2 cozs and another male had already carried out a carjacking when they spotted Solano throughout the early morning hours of Sept. 17, 1998, entering his van to go to work, according to the proof. Solano’s family members stated the 36-year-old, who did Christian missionary operate in Guadalajara, Mexico, had moved with his wife to Houston weeks previously so their kids might be educated in the U.S.
Eleazar Mendoza, who pleaded guilty to worsened burglary and was sentenced to 55 years in jail, affirmed that Garcia approached Solano and pointed a weapon. Mendoza stated Garcia provided Solano orders in Spanish to surrender any money he had and then shot him when he refused.
Garcia, who spoke to the AP on a phone inside a caged-in visitors’ location outside the state’s death row, stated it was Mendoza who came up with the idea to rob Solano and that Solano escalated the conflict by withstanding.
“He punches me. Very first thing that came through my mind is that the guy is going to attempt to eliminate me,” Garcia said. “He got hold of the weapon with both of his hands and it released.”
Solano was shot four times in the head and neck. Garcia stated he didn’t rob Solano.
“My papa considered to beat me,” Garcia said. “When that person hit me, I was high up on drugs and the first individual I saw was my dad. So I kept shooting.”
Court records show Garcia remained in a vehicle that was pulled over for a busted headlight more than a week after the killing. He was arrested for property of a handgun when the weapon hit the floorboard as he was leaving the vehicle. He was launched however detained once again later on an escape warrant as a juvenile fugitive when the weapon was matched to Solano’s slaying.
At Garcia’s trial in Houston, authorities tied him to at least 8 exacerbated burglaries and 2 attempted capital murders in the weeks prior to and after Solano’s death. He also had a substantial juvenile record starting at age 12.
Another accused, Raymond McBen, pleaded guilty to intensified burglary and was sentenced to 30 years in jail. He was paroled a year earlier.
The fourth man charged, Gabriel Morales, went to trial and was sentenced to life on a capital murder conviction.