HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) – No late appeals are planned for a Texas inmate facing execution for the shotgun slaying of a suburban Dallas liquor store clerk, his attorneys said.
Gustavo Garcia's lethal injection scheduled for Tuesday evening would be the third this year in Texas, which carries out capital punishment more than any other state. Garcia, 43, was sentenced to death for the fatal 1990 shooting of Craig Turski during a robbery.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected a clemency petition and a federal judge considering an appeal Friday refused to halt the execution. The U.S. Supreme Court last month refused to review an appeal that challenged the competency of Garcia's earlier legal help. Then last week, the high court turned down a request for a rehearing on that ruling.
Seth Kretzer, one of Garcia's lawyers, said Monday he anticipated no last-day appeals to the courts.
Garcia spent more than half of his life on death row for the killing of Turski, a cashier at a Plano liquor store. Garcia was 18 at the time of the slaying, which was one of two tied to him and 15-year-old Christopher Vargas.
Vargas was tried and convicted as an adult and given a life sentence, but his age made him ineligible for the death penalty.
Court documents show Garcia shot Turski in the abdomen on Dec. 9, 1990, then reloaded and shot the 43-year-old man in the back of the head. A month later, Garcia and Vargas entered a Plano convenience store armed with a sawed-off shotgun and carried out a holdup in which another clerk, 18-year-old Gregory Martin, was fatally shot in the head.
Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend just before the shooting and told her to call police. Officers arrived and found Vargas standing over Martin's body and Garcia hiding in a beer cooler with the shotgun nearby. Authorities later determined the weapon was the same one used in Turski's death.
In a statement to police after his arrest for Martin's killing, Garcia said he'd ordered Turski to his knees and then a customer entered the store.
"I then panicked," he said. "I shot the clerk with the shotgun."
On Thanksgiving night in 1998, Garcia and five other death row inmates were scaling a pair of 10-foot-high prison fences when corrections officers opened fire on them and they surrendered. A seventh death row prisoner, Martin Gurule, was shot but managed to flee, making him the first inmate to escape Texas death row since a Bonnie and Clyde gang member broke out in 1934. Gurule's body was found about a week later in a creek a few miles from the prison. An autopsy showed he drowned.
"At least I can say I tried," Garcia said of the escape attempt in a 1999 interview with The Associated Press. "Facing execution is scarier."
He declined an interview request as his execution date neared.
Garcia's death sentence was overturned in 2000 on appeal. A year later, he was returned to death row after a second punishment trial.
At least nine other Texas inmates have execution dates set for the coming months, including three in March.