Texas on Tuesday executed a member of the “Texas 7,” a group of inmates who killed a police officer at a sporting goods store on Christmas Eve in 2000 after they escaped a maximum security prison days earlier.
Joseph Garcia, 47, was pronounced dead at 6:43 p.m. local time. He was put to death by lethal injection in the state’s death chamber in Huntsville, the state’s department of criminal justice said.”Yes Sir. Dear Heavenly Father please forgive them for they know not what they do,” he said before he died, according to the department.The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a series of petitions to stay the execution shortly before it began.
Garcia was serving a 50-year sentence for murder when he and six other inmates broke out of maximum security prison in Kenedy, Texas, on Dec. 13, 2000, according to court documents.Eleven days later, on Christmas Eve, Garcia and the other escapees robbed a sporting goods store in Irving. Police officer Aubrey Hawkins, 31, was shot and killed by the group as the men fled, according to court filings.They were apprehended about a month later at a Colorado RV park where one of the escapees committed suicide.