TEXAS (USA): GEORGE RIVAS EXECUTED
February 29, 2012: George Rivas, 41, white, was executed in Texas for killing Aubrey Hawkins, 29, white, a police officer, during a robbery on Christmas Eve in 2000 after organizing and pulling off Texas' biggest prison break.
Rivas and 6 accomplices, then called âThe Texas 7â, broke out of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Connally Unit on Dec. 13, 2000. They were apprehended January 21â23, 2001 in Colorado as a direct result of the television show America's Most Wanted. One committed suicide rather than be arrested. Rivas and 5 others were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to die. Rivas planned the escape while serving 17 life sentences for aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery and another life sentence for burglary.
More than 2 dozen police officers in uniforms stood quietly in a line outside the Huntsville prison during the execution, then walked in unison to stand behind the state criminal justice spokesman as he announced Rivas' death.
In 2008, accomplice Michael Rodriguez, 45, dropped his appeals and was executed. The 4 "Texas 7" members still awaiting execution are Patrick Murphy Jr. 49; Joseph Garcia, 40; Randy Halprin, 34; and Donald Newbury, 49.
Rivas becomes the 2nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 479th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on December 7, 1982. Rivas becomes the 6th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1283rd overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977. (Sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin, 29/02/2012)