Man who killed cop by shooting him 11 times executed before he could utter his final words
47-year-old Joseph Garcia was the fourth in the group to be executed over the Christmas Eve killing of 29-year-old Irving police officer Aubrey Hawkins
A member of the infamous 'Texas Seven' group who escaped from the John B. Connally Unit near Kenedy, Texas, on December 13, 2000, and later was involved in the fatal shooting of a suburban Dallas police officer, was put to death via lethal injection on Tuesday, December 4.
According to the Daily Mail, 47-year-old Joseph Garcia was the fourth in the group to be executed over the Christmas Eve killing of 29-year-old Irving police officer Aubrey Hawkins 18 years ago, with the remaining two inmates still on death row. Garcia received the lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, as per Texas prison rules, was granted a standard last meal and allowed to say a few last words.
When asked if he had anything to say before he was executed, Garcia responded with, "Yes, sir," before saying, "Dear heavenly Father, please forgive them, for they know not what they do." He then reportedly paused for an entire minute, with the subdued sounds of revving motorcycles — which were being ridden by a group in support of the slain policeman — echoing inside the chamber.
As he began to continue, the process of execution had already begun, with a lethal dose of pentobarbital injected into his veins. "They've already started and I ain't even finished," he said. The Mail reports that the 47-year-old gasped three times and snorted twice before he stopped moving. He was pronounced dead at 6:43 p.m.
Following his escape with the 'Texas Seven,' Garcia had been serving a 50-year sentence for the murder of Miguel Luna Jr. in San Antonio. The group then committed a spree of robberies, during one of which officer Hawkins would be called to the scene.
Hawkins, who had just finished having Christmas dinner with his family when he received the call, arrived on the scene and was almost immediately ambushed and killed. An autopsy of his body revealed he had sustained 11 gunshots and had been run over by the escaped convicts as they fled the scene.
The authorities subsequently launched a massive manhunt for the group, and with a little help from the awareness raised by 'America's Most Wanted,' captured all but one — Larry James Harper committed suicide before he could be apprehended — in Colorado a few weeks later. All six were sentenced to death.
Garcia's attorneys argued with the Supreme Court that the 47-year-old shouldn't be executed because he never fired his gun at Hawkins or intended to kill him, with lawyer Stephen J. Cooper saying, "He didn't do anything violent or prepare or encourage anybody else to do anything violent."
But the appeals were rejected on Tuesday evening, clearing the way for his execution. The parents and three daughters of Garcia's first victim, Luna, were amongst the witnesses present in the room as officials injected the 47-year-old with the lethal dose of the pentobarbital.
Garcia is the 22nd inmate to be put to death this year in the US, and the 12th given the lethal injection in Texas alone. Two of his fellow escapees from the 'Texas Seven,' 41-year-old Randy Ethan Halprin and 57-year-old Patrick Henry Murphy Jr., are on Texas death row awaiting execution.