Valley man wasn't triggerman but sentenced to death under "law of parties"
Fri, 20 Sep 2013 01:06:57 GMT —
The family of a Rio Grande Valley man on Texas Death Row is making a plea to save his life.
Robert Garza was supposed to be executed on Thursday evening.
But a last-minute appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court has placed the execution of on hold.
The Tri-City Bomber gang member was sentenced to death for his role in the September 2002 murders of four women.
Garza didn't pull the trigger but was sentenced to death due to what's called "the law of parties."
The Death Row inmate said he helped prepare for the ambush of four women leaving work at a bar in Donna.
Garza followed the gunmen to the scene but maintains that he was not one of the shooters.
A Hidalgo County jury sentenced Garza to death for his role in the crime back in December 2003.
Both Garza and his family and gone through rounds of appeals arguing that it TMs not fair for him to be executed when he was not the actual triggerman.
Harlingen-based defense attorney John Blaylock said Texas state law upholds Garza TMs death sentence under the law of parties.
The law holds one person responsible for the actions of another person.
Remember when we were young and our mother's told us don TMt hang out with those types of people because you could be held responsible for what they do even though you didn't do it yourself, Blaylock said. Well, it turns out your mom was a legal scholar."
Blaylock said the law of parties is powerful tool used by prosecutors to arrest anyone connected to a crime.
Giving an example of a bank robber and a getaway driver, Blaylock said both can be charged for the same crime and face the same penalties.
The Harlingen attorney said he does not support the death penalty innocent people have been executed in Texas.
But Blaylock said the law of parties and its use in capital murder cases is not going to change any time soon.
The law of parties is a very popular law among prosecutors because it makes it easy to get after everyone who was involved and this law will never be abolished, Blaylock said. The law of parties is needed to get everybody involved in the criminal enterprise."