On Wednesday Night, the State of Corrections of Texas carried out the death penalty for the second time in a week, this time on convicted cop-killer Manuel Garza, Jr. While there have been outcries against death by lethal injection across the country, with some calling it “inhumane,” Garza was put to death by lethal injection.
Just 34-years-old, Garza was pronounced dead at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday. When asked if he wanted to make a final statement prior to his death, he said that he did. He apologized for the “pain he had caused” to his family and friends and to “police officers everywhere.”
“I know you probably hate me.What happened between me and Rocky happened too fast. I didn’t know what happened. I wish y’all peace and love. I hope you have found God just like I have. God bless y’all. I will see you on the other side. I love you.”
Garza has been behind bars since 2001 awaiting his execution on death row so he had much time to contemplate his situation. There were no last minute appeals in his case, which is unusual for death penalty convictions just prior to being carried out. His last appeal was in 2013, when Garza’s lawyers tried to say that the defense at his first trial was inadequate, but it was rejected.
Garza was convicted in the February, 2001, killing of San Antonio police officer John “Rocky” Riojas, 37, a member of an elite SWAT unit that had been targeting an influx of property crimes at an apartment complex, as reported by the Associated Press. When Riojas stepped out of his police car to ask Garza for his name, Garza, who had several outstanding arrest warrants, ran from the officer, causing the officer to give chase.
Garza and the police officer eventually struggled, and Garza claimed the officer drew his weapon, which Garza wrestled away from him and lethally shot him in the head with his own service pistol. Garza later said that he did not want to go back to jail, and that was the only motive for killing the police officer.
At the time, Garza spoke about the incident as though the police officer held some blame in the situation.
“As I started running the cop was telling me to stop. I just wanted to get away. I knew I was gonna go to jail and I didn’t want that. I truly think this was the cop’s fault. I don’t see why he wanted to pull out his gun.”
[photo via mysanantonio.com]