In a recent development, the list of death sentences in El Paso has grown longer, with Facundo Chavez, found guilty of capital murder, receiving the death penalty for his involvement in the fatal shooting of El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Peter Herrera in March 2019.
Presently, one more capital murder case remains pending, that of the infamous Walmart shooter.
Notably, El Paso County is home to seven other individuals who have been sentenced to Texas state death row. David Santiago Renteria is scheduled for execution on November 16, though no execution dates have been set for other cases.
Of particular significance is a case dating back to the late 1980s involving the tragic murders of several young girls.
Over the past decades, only four individuals have been executed in El Paso cases: Justin Grant Hall in 2019, William Josef Berkley in 2010, Ricardo Ortiz in 2009, and Ramon Pedro Hernandez in 1987. These executions were carried out by lethal injection at the Huntsville Unit in Huntsville, Texas.
Upcoming Death Penalty Cases
Patrick Crusius: Notably, the perpetrator of the El Paso Walmart mass shooting, Patrick Crusius, is facing a potential death penalty in the ongoing state case against him.
Despite being sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences in federal court on July 7, following his guilty plea to 90 federal charges, Crusius still faces state charges. Prosecutors have expressed their intent to pursue the death penalty for the white supremacist shooter, although a trial date in state court is yet to be determined.
The tweet below verifies the news:
8 men in El Paso murder cases on death row; Walamrt shooter faces death penalty https://t.co/HMQE1dsblP
— El Paso Times (@elpasotimes) August 12, 2023
Facundo Chavez: Convicted of capital murder, Facundo Chavez has been handed a death sentence for the fatal shooting of Deputy Peter Herrera during a traffic stop in San Elizario, Texas, in March 2019. Chavez’s unprovoked attack on the deputy has stirred public outrage.
El Paso Inmates on Death Row
El Paso is home to seven other individuals who await execution on death row:
- David Leonard Wood: Dubbed the “Desert Killer,” Wood has been on death row since 1992 for the murders of six teen girls and young women, whose bodies were discovered between 1987 and 1988 in Northeast El Paso. Pending additional DNA testing, Wood’s execution date remains undetermined.
- David Santiago Renteria: Convicted in 2003 for the death of 5-year-old Alexandra Flores, Renteria’s execution date has been set for November 16.
- Fidencio Valdez: A reputed Barrio Azteca member, Valdez was convicted of capital murder in 2014 for the killing of Julio Barrios and Ralph Ed Tucker in 2010. An execution date has not been determined.
- Fabian Hernandez: Hernandez was convicted for the double murder of his ex-wife Renee Urbina Hernandez and Arthur Lee Fonseca in 2006. A new trial was ordered in 2018 due to new scientific evidence, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld his conviction in 2020. An execution date has not been set.
- Irving Alvin Davis: Convicted in connection with the rape, mutilation, and killing of 15-year-old Melissa Medina in 2001, Davis’ execution date is yet to be determined.
- Rigoberto Avila, Jr.: Avila was convicted for the death of his girlfriend’s 19-month-old son, Nicolas Macias, in 2000. The execution date has not been set.
- Tony Ford: Convicted for the murder of 18-year-old Armando Murillo during a robbery in 1991, Ford’s execution date remains undetermined.
Former Death Penalty Cases
Two individuals, Angel Rivera, and Cesar Roberto Fierro, have seen changes in their sentences. Angel Rivera’s death sentence was reduced to life in prison in 2014, while Cesar Roberto Fierro had his death sentence thrown out in 2019, leading to a retrial.
Ignacio Gomez, who was on death row for the murders of Michael and Matthew Meredith and Tolbert “Toby” Hatheway Jr. in 1996, passed away due to natural causes in 2019 while awaiting execution.
The cases underscore the complex legal and moral debates surrounding the death penalty in the United States, particularly in El Paso, Texas.
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