Weekend Reads 'Lovers' lane killer' to be executed for 2003 Texas murder

20:32  16 may  2018
20:32  16 may  2018 Source:   houstonchronicle.com

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A San Antonio killer this month was handed his fourth execution date in less than a year. Juan Castillo, who was sent to death row for his role in a 2003 lovers ’ lane slaying, is now slated to die by lethal injection on If his appeals fail, the 38-year-old will be the fourth Texas man executed this year.

Anthony Allen Shore, known as the “Tourniquet Killer ” is set to be executed Wednesday night in Texas . When Shore was arrested in 2003 , he was on probation for a 1998 conviction of sexually assaulting two relatives. During his arrest, he confessed to three other murders but was only

Juan Castillo© TDCJ Juan Castillo First it was a filing error. Then a hurricane. Then a recantation. Now, Juan Castillo may be running out ways to avoid the grim fate the state of Texas has in store for him.

After three canceled death dates in one year, the condemned lovers' lane killer from San Antonio is again slated for execution Wednesday night. If everything goes to plan, he'll become the sixth man this year to meet his end in the Huntsville death chamber.

"I know when my son is gone he's going to be in the arms of my Lord," his mother June Castillo said. "I'd rather him be in my arms - but if the Lord wants him, I thank the Lord for not letting the devil have him."

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Texas on Wednesday plans to execute a man dubbed the " Lovers ' Lane " killer who was convicted of a 2003 ambush attack on a remote road in San Antonio where he tried to rob another man in a parked car and then fatally shot him.

In 2003 , he confessed to four murders of young women and girls in the 1980s and 1990s, strangling them with rope or cord and leaving their unclothed bodies behind buildings or in Houston serial killer faces execution this week. Texas court halts execution to review claims that co-defendant lied at trial.

The now-37-year-old was sent to death row in 2005 for the slaying of Tommy Garcia, Jr, an aspiring local rapper gunned down in a robbery that turned fatal.

It all happened in early December 2003, when Castillo and his girlfriend teamed up with another couple to target the 19-year-old musician, prosecutors said. With the promise of sex and drugs, Debra Espinosa - Castillo's then-girlfriend and Garcia's past lover - lured the unwitting victim to a secluded make-out spot.

There, two men in ski masks - later identified as Castillo and his friend Francisco Gonzales - attacked the couple as they sat in the car. They tore Garcia from the Camaro and shot him seven times, according to court records.

Espinosa and Gonzales both testified that it was Castillo who fired the fatal shots - but Castillo has long maintained that he didn't do it. In fact, he said, he wasn't even there.

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Execution : June 11, 2003 . Summary: Johnson was convicted for shooting and killing a convenience store manager during a robbery. The 36-year-old was convicted of killing teenage rapper Tommy Garcia Jr. in a botched robbery on a San Antonio lovers ' lane .

A San Antonio killer this month was handed his fourth execution date in less than a year. Juan Castillo, who was sent to death row for his role in a 2003 lovers ' lane slaying, is now slated to die by lethal injection on If his appeals fail, the 38-year-old will be the fourth Texas man executed this year.

There was never any physical evidence placing him at the scene, but prosecutors used a slew of sources to tie him to the crime. Aside from the eyewitness testimony, three others said they'd heard Castillo confess, and a fourth person said she'd seen him wearing the victim's distinctive jewelry in the days after the slaying.

But in the 13 years since his conviction, some pieces of the case have become less certain. Five years ago, one of the key witnesses against him – an informant who met Castillo in Bexar County jail – recanted his testimony.

"I described what Juan Castillo supposedly told me about the capital murder," ex-inmate Gerardo Gutierrez wrote in 2013. "Juan Castillo never told me this information about this capital murder case. This testimony was untrue about Juan Castillo. I made up this testimony to try to help myself."

That recantation eventually won Castillo a stay of execution. But when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals sent the case back to a lower court, the judge deemed that change of heart unreliable and rejected the legal claim within a day - before the defense had a chance to weigh in.

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Anthony Shore, a convicted serial killer , is set to be executed Wednesday evening. His murders in the 1980s and 1990s went unsolved until 2003 . Houston’s “Tourniquet Killer ” is on his way to the Texas death chamber.

"It's really unusual and strange," said Amanda Marzullo, executive director of Texas Defender Services, said at the time. "It's a clear due process violation."

But Bexar County prosecutor Matthew Howard said the federal courts had already reviewed that claim and rejected it, well before it ever went back into state courts.

"That affidavit had already floated through the justice system for a while," he said. "So it wasn't exactly new evidence by the time it was presented to the CCA."

Then last week, defense attorneys entered a filing poking holes in two other state witnesses and accusing prosecutors of withholding evidence.

But on Monday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals turned down that claim, hours after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal centered on the recanted testimony.

"There are serious issues with his case, which no court has given meaningful review," Marzullo said.

The Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously voted to reject a clemency recommendation, despite a 173-page petition detailing Castillo's rough childhood and raising questions about his case.

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Swain was described by prosecutors as “a serial killer in training.” Swain, 33, was executed by lethal injection for the murder of Lola Nixon at her home in Longview, Texas just two day after Christmas 2002, reports The Associated Press.

This May 9, 2018 photo shows Juan Edward Castillo at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Polunsky Unit near Livingston, Texas. Castillo who is convicted of killing Tommy Garcia Jr. is set for execution Wednesday, May 16, 2018, for the slaying more than 14 years ago. He'd be the sixth inmate put to death this year in Texas, more than any other state. (AP Photo/Mike Graczyk)© Mike Graczyk, Associated Press This May 9, 2018 photo shows Juan Edward Castillo at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Polunsky Unit near Livingston, Texas. Castillo who is convicted of killing Tommy Garcia Jr. is set for execution Wednesday, May 16, 2018, for the slaying more than 14 years ago. He'd be the sixth inmate put to death this year in Texas, more than any other state. (AP Photo/Mike Graczyk)

Wednesday's execution date is Castillo's fourth in a year. Last May's date was rescheduled after prosecutors failed to give 90-day notice to the defense. Then, a September execution was pushed back in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and a December death date was called off in light of the recanted testimony.

But by late Monday, it appeared Castillo had seemingly run out of appeals options. His last hope lay in a letter to the governor begging for a 30-day stay.

For the victim's family, Howard said, the upcoming deadline brings a promise of closure.

"This has been a long process for them," he said. "It's been more than 15 years now and they are certainly ready for this chapter to come to a close."

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Source: http://ca.pressfrom.com/news/weekendreads/-74919-lovers-lane-killer-to-be-executed-for-2003-texas-murder/

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