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‘Texas 7’ escapee fights death sentence as Dec. 4 execution nears

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‘Texas 7’ escapee fights death sentence as Dec. 4 execution nears

 Keri Blakinger Nov. 23, 2018 Updated: Nov. 23, 2018 12:19 p.m.

Joseph Garcia met George Rivas back in the summer of 1999, eight months before they started plotting their escape.

They were doing time together on the Connally Unit, counting out their days in the heat of a Texas prison.

Garcia was locked up on a murder charge, a crime he’s long maintained was self-defense. Rivas, on the other hand, was a convicted kidnapper, violent and full of charisma.

They both had decades of time in front of them. But Rivas had better plans.

Around lunchtime on Dec. 13, 2000, they broke out of the maximum security prison south of San Antonio, bringing along five confederates as they made good on an intricate plot culled straight from the pages of a novel.

They took hostages, burst into the prison armory, stole weapons and stormed out in a prison truck, making for the biggest escape in Texas prison history. After pulling off two robberies in the Houston area, they headed to the Dallas suburbs, hoping to get as far as they could from the bloodhounds and helicopters hunting them down.  :snip:  https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Texas-Seven-escapee-fights-death-sentence-13413007.php

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Death Row Information

Offender Information

Picture of Offender Name Garcia, Joseph Christopher
TDCJ Number 999441
Date of Birth 11/06/1971
Date Received 02/14/2003
Age (when Received) 31
Education Level (Highest Grade Completed) 12
Date of Offense 12/24/2000
  Age (at the time of Offense) 29
  County Dallas
  Race Hispanic
  Gender Male
  Hair Color Black
  Height 5 ft 9 in
  Weight 202
  Eye Color Brown
  Native County Bexar
  Native State Texas

Prior Occupation
maintenance, laborer

Prior Prison Record
#774391 on a 50 year sentence from Bexar County for murder with a deadly weapon; 12/13/2000 escaped from custody

Summary of Incident
On 12/24/2000, in Irving, Texas, Garcia and six codefendants fatally shot a 31 year old white male police officer while on escape from the TDCJ Connally Unit.

Co-Defendants
Patrick Murphy, George Rivas, Randy Halprin, Larry Harper, Michael Rodriguez, Donald Newberry

Race and Gender of Victim
white male

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Texas set to execute Joseph Garcia, one of the "Texas Seven" prison escapees

Garcia is scheduled for execution Tuesday night. He'll be the fourth of the "Texas Seven" inmates executed after the group escaped the Connally Unit in 2000 and killed Irving Police Officer Aubrey Hawkins during a Christmas Eve robbery.

BY HANNAH WILEY DEC. 4, 201815 HOURS AGO

Joseph Garcia was four years into a 50-year sentence for a 1996 Bexar County murder when he joined six other inmates who escaped prison, went on the run and killed Irving Police officer Aubrey Hawkins in a Christmas Eve robbery.

Texas is scheduled to execute Garcia, 47, on Tuesday evening, almost 18 years after he and the other inmates known as the "Texas Seven" construed a detailed plan to break out of the Connally Unit in Karnes County. On the afternoon of Dec. 13, 2000, the seven men overpowered prison workers, took their uniforms, stole 14 handguns, a shotgun, an AR-15 rifle and more than 100 rounds of ammunition before fleeing north in a prison truck.

The escaped prisoners managed to avoid law enforcement until Christmas Eve, when a botched robbery at a sporting goods store in Irving resulted in a shootout between the escaped convicts and Hawkins.  :snip: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/12/04/Joseph-Garcia-Texas-seven-texas-execution/

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