A Texas man who murdered five family members, including his 7-year-old and 9-month-old daughters, apologized to his in-laws and thanked his father and Jesus for turning around his life before he was executed Thursday evening.
Abel Revill Ochoa, 47, was denied his last appeal an hour before his execution by lethal injection 18 years after he shot his wife, Cecilia, two daughters, Crystal and Anahi, his father-in-law, Bartolo, and his sisters-in-law Alma and Jackie with a handgun. Alma was the only one who survived. He shot his eldest daughter, Crystal, four times, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“I would like to thank God, my dad, my Lord Jesus savior for saving me and changing my life,” he said, while strapped to the gurney in Huntsville, according to the Chronicle. “I want to apologize to my in-laws for causing all this emotional pain. I love y’all and consider y’all my sister I never had. I want to thank you for forgiving me.”
In August 2002, Ochoa grabbed the 9mm handgun from his bedroom after smoking crack he had bought with money borrowed from his wife that morning on the way home from church.
He was arrested minutes after he methodically shot his family members and drove away in his wife’s car. He gave police a detailed written confession, saying he committed the murders because he couldn’t handle the stress anymore and was tired of his life. He ultimately blamed his drug addiction.
During his trial, Ochoa’s defense said he committed the murders in a drugged haze, but prosecutors claimed his motivation was anger.
“He said he remembers it like a dream,” Ochoa’s brother Gilbert told the Plainview Daily Herald the day after the shooting. “He was doing that drug outside and then he went into the living room.”
A jury found Ochoa guilty of the murders after just 10 minutes in 2003.
In his later appeals, he focused on the idea that his legal representation had been lacking and claimed the prison was reluctant to let him file a clemency plea.
His lawyers argued they were simply financially “deprived of any means to effectuate his representation."
The U.S. Supreme Court turned down his case last year.
Ochoa was the second inmate executed in Texas so far this year, the Chronicle reported.