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Rolando Ruiz, Jr. - Texas Execution - March 7, 2017
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Thread: Rolando Ruiz, Jr. - Texas Execution - March 7, 2017

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    Rolando Ruiz, Jr. - Texas Execution - March 7, 2017


    Theresa Rodriguez




    Summary of Offense:

    Rolando Ruiz was convicted in Bexar County in 1995 of being the triggerman in the July 14, 1992 murder-for-hire of 29-year-old Theresa Rodriguez. Rodriguez was shot once in the head in the garage of her home as she stepped from her car. The victim's husband, Michael Rodriguez and brother-in-law, Mark Rodriguez, paid Ruiz $2,000 to kill her, apparently so Michael Rodriguez could collect on life insurance policies totaling $250,000.

    Michael Rodriguez was executed on August 14, 2008 for murdering Irving Police Officer Aubrey Hawkins, 31, on December 24, 2000 while on escape from the Texas Correctional Connally Unit with six other co-defendants. For more on Rodriguez, see: http://www.cncpunishment.com/forums/...28Volunteer%29

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    July 10, 2007

    Hitman in San Antonio murder-for-hire plot set to die

    HUNTSVILLE (AP) — With $1,000 already paid to him and another $1,000 promised when he finished his deadly business, Rolando Ruiz confronted 29-year-old Theresa Rodriguez as she got out of her car in the garage of her San Antonio home.

    Accompanying her that night 15 years ago this week were the men who hired Ruiz to kill her — her brother-in-law, Mark, and her husband, Michael, who hoped to collect at least a quarter-million dollars in life insurance coverage on his wife.

    "Do it," Mark Rodriguez told Ruiz in the garage, according to Ruiz's confession to authorities.

    "His confession indicated she looked at him and smiled, and then he pulled the gun up and shot her," said Robert McClure, a Bexar County district attorney who prosecuted Ruiz.

    Ruiz, 20 at the time, fired once with a .357-caliber Magnum pistol, striking the woman in the head. He then ran to a car waiting in the street and drove off.

    Ruiz, who turned 35 last week, is set to die tonight for the slaying. He would be the 19th prisoner to receive lethal injection this year in Texas, the nation's busiest death penalty state.

    The U.S. Supreme Court refused his appeal in March. Appeals lawyers unsuccessfully asked the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend Gov. Rick Perry commute Ruiz's sentence to life in prison. They contended that earlier in the state appellate process lawyers failed to point out that Ruiz's trial jurors, when deciding his punishment, weren't told of his substance abuse or childhood abuse and neglect.

    "Each inmate should get one full and fair opportunity to avail himself of the courts," attorneys Morris Moon and Jared Tyler with the Texas Defender Service wrote in their petition. "Roland Ruiz never had that opportunity."

    When a similar argument to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals also failed, his lawyers took their arguments into the federal courts.

    Ruiz is one of five men charged with capital murder in the case. The others, including the Rodriguez brothers, took plea agreements in exchange for life prison terms.

    Michael Rodriguez, however, wound up on death row as one of the infamous Texas Seven, a group of inmates who escaped from a South Texas prison, then killed an Irving police officer on Christmas Eve 2000 during a sporting goods store holdup. He's asked that his appeals be stopped and his execution move forward, although he is not among the dozen Texas inmates with execution dates in the coming months.

    Ruiz was arrested after a telephone tip to authorities and after Theresa Rodriguez's employer, the insurance firm USAA, offered a $50,000 reward for information about her slaying.

    In statements to authorities acknowledging his role in the killing, Ruiz also said Mark Rodriguez approached him initially about the killing job, Michael Rodriguez offered the payment, and Mark delivered the cash — $1,000 upfront and the other $1,000 afterward.

    The Rodriguez brothers entered their guilty pleas in 1995, days before Michael Rodriguez's capital murder trial was to start.

    Eddie Sanchez, whose oldest daughter was the shooting victim, said three of his other children would be in Huntsville to watch Ruiz die.

    "I'll be watching the clock," Sanchez said. "There will never be closure. As it is now, they give him a sedative and then they give him something else and something else, and then he dies. And there's nothing to that."

    Joe Ramon, now 34, accompanied Ruiz the night of the shooting. Robert Silva, also 34, was identified as the intermediary who put the Rodriguez brothers in touch with Ruiz. They're serving life prison sentences.

    While in the Bexar County Jail awaiting trial, authorities believe Ruiz joined the Texas Syndicate, a notorious prison gang, and was involved in several disturbances resulting in assaults on officers and other inmates.

    Scheduled to die next is Lonnie Johnson, 44, set for lethal injection July 24 for the shooting deaths of two Harris County teenagers and theft of their truck almost 17 years ago.

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    July 10, 2007

    Hitman in San Antonio murder-for-hire plot wins reprieve

    HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A hitman paid $2,000 to gun down a San Antonio woman 15 years ago in a scheme devised by her husband and his brother to collect her life insurance benefits won a reprieve that blocked his scheduled execution Tuesday evening.

    Rolando Ruiz, who turned 35 last week, received a stay from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals more than an hour after he could have been given lethal drugs that would have made him the 19th prisoner executed this year in the nation's most active capital punishment state.

    Ruiz was condemned for the July 14, 1992, fatal shooting of 29-year-old Theresa Rodriguez, killed in the garage at her home as she was getting out of her car and with her husband, Michael, and his brother, Mark, at the scene.

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    Ruiz was remanded to Federal District Court under a Rule 60(b) claim in an October 12, 2007 Fifth Circuit opinion.

    Opinion is here:

    http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions...25-CV0.wpd.pdf

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    Inmate seeks overturning of sentence

    A San Antonio man on death row who was hired by a member of the Texas 7 to kill his wife for insurance money is seeking a new sentencing hearing.

    Rolando Ruiz Jr., 38, was sentenced to death in 1995 for his conviction in the murder-for-hire of Theresa Rodriguez, 29. She was shot to death July 14, 1992, in the garage of her North Side home.

    In a hearing that began Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, Ruiz argued that Ruiz's trial lawyers were ineffective because they did not pursue mitigating factors that could have saved him from the death penalty.

    Ruiz does not contest that he was paid $2,000 by brothers Michael and Mark Rodriguez to kill the victim, who was Michael Rodriguez's wife, so the siblings could collect $400,000 in insurance.

    The Rodriguez brothers and two other accomplices were sent to prison after pleading guilty in 1995. Michael Rodriguez later escaped from prison with six other inmates – the group was dubbed the Texas 7 – and they went on a crime spree that included the murder of an Irving police officer. Authorities caught up with them in Colorado and Michael Rodriguez was later executed.

    Ruiz's new lawyers, Chris Gober and Kathryn M. Case, argued that Ruiz's attorneys in 1995 decided not to follow leads in a psychologist's report that could have helped him.

    The report, which was not introduced at trial, claimed that Ruiz was abused as a child and it led him to alcohol and/or substance addiction, that he had trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality, and that he probably killed Rodriguez during “significant reduced mental capacity resulting from the effects of alcohol or other intoxicants.”

    Ruiz's lead lawyer at the time, Karen Amos, has since died. Her co-counsel, Don Mach, defended the decisions he and Amos made during Ruiz's trial and sentencing.

    Mach testified Tuesday that the defense did not investigate the claims further because presenting them in court could have backfired. Following his arrest, Ruiz was involved in a “mini-riot” at the Bexar County Jail, Mach said.

    “It wasn't that helpful because (Ruiz) might be seen as a future danger,” Mach testified. “And combined with his participation in the mini-riot at the jail — he didn't need drugs or alcohol (in that) — that (defense) went out the window.”

    http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/loc...106559673.html

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    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    On May 11, 2011, Ruiz filed an appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit over the denial of his habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cir.../ca5/11-70011/

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    On August 26, 2013, the Fifth Circuit DENIED Ruiz' motion for a COA.

    ROLANDO RUIZ v. WILLIAM STEPHENS

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    Anyone able to explain why the 5th took so long to rule? (compared to their usual........)

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    Hitman in San Antonio murder plot loses appeal

    A hitman condemned for carrying out a murder-for-hire plot that left a San Antonio woman dead has lost a federal court appeal, moving him closer to execution.

    The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week refused 41-year-old Rolando Ruiz's appeal. His attorneys unsuccessfully argued his trial lawyer was deficient for failing to present jurors evidence of an abusive childhood.

    Ruiz in 2007 came within an hour of execution when the 5th Circuit gave him a reprieve.

    Evidence showed Ruiz collected $2,000 to gun down Theresa Rodriguez at the request of her husband, Michael, and a brother-in-law who stood to gain about $250,000 from her insurance.

    Her husband later joined Ruiz on death row as one of the notorious Texas Seven gang of escaped inmates. He was executed in 2008.

    http://www.chron.com/news/texas/arti....php?cmpid=htx
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    Hired hitman's death sentence upheld

    His daughter was murdered 21 years ago, but her killer is still sitting on death row.

    Theresa Rodriguez was shot in the head in her own driveway by hired hitman Rolando Ruiz. The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his death sentence and conviction last week, but Theresa's father is still frustrated.

    "It takes so long to execute someone. This guy admitted it. He was sentenced, and 21 years later he's still there?" asked Theresa's father Eddie Sanchez. "What's wrong with the system?"

    Theresa was 29 when she was killed in 1992. Her husband Michael Rodriguez and her brother-in-law hired Ruiz to kill her for $2,000. Ruiz followed the three of them home from a movie on July 14, 1992 and he shot her as she was getting out of the car.

    "It's still hard. You never get over it. All my daughters, my son, my wife, I'm sure when we're alone, I'm sure that's all we think about is Theresa," Sanchez said.

    Ruiz was granted a last minute stay of execution back in July 2007, right before he was supposed to be put to death. Theresa's husband Michael was sentenced to life in prison, but escaped in 2000 as part of the infamous "Texas Seven." While the group was on the run, they killed Irving police officer Aubrey Hawkins. Michael was executed in 2008 for his role in the escape and Hawkins killing, but Ruiz is still alive.

    "There's never closure. Even when he's executed there's no closure. We'll never see Theresa again," Sanchez said. Ruiz can make one last appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sanchez says he does not plan to witness his execution.

    http://www.news4sanantonio.com/news/...eld-3472.shtml
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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