October 6, 2015
Juan Martin Garcia was executed by the state of Texas on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. He pronounced dead shortly at 6:26 pm CDT, inside the execution chamber at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Juan was 35 years of age. He was convicted of the robbery and murder of 32-year-old Hugo Solano on September 17, 1998, in Houston, Texas. Juan spent the last 15 years of his life on Texas’ death row.
Juan performed poorly in school, dropping out following the 8th grade. He was considered a slow learner and enrolled in special education classes when he attended school. Prior to his arrest, he worked as a laborer in construction and landscaping, although Juan lacked steady employment. Juan also frequently used drugs and alcohol.
Juan Garcia and three of his friends - Eleazar Mendoza, Gabriel Morales, and Raymond McBen - began a crime spree in August of 1998, which continued into the month of September. On September 17, 1998, the group was walking around Houston, Texas, when they approached Hugo Solano, who was walking to his vehicle. At gunpoint, Garcia demanded that Hugo hand over his money. Hugo refused. Garcia shot Hugo four times in the head and neck, killing him, and then took the $8.00 in cash that Hugo had on him.
Following his arrest, Garcia confessed to the crime. Garcia now alleges that he did not intend to kill Hugo, but that Hugo grabbed for the gun, which accidentally discharged during the struggle. Garcia also now alleges that he never robbed Hugo and was high on drugs at the time of the crime. Without the robbery charge, Garcia would not have been eligible for the death penalty. There have been numerous attempts to have Garcia’s death sentence overturned, alleging that Garcia does not have the required mental competency to be executed. Garcia’s three friends, with him on the night of the murder, each received various prison terms.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Hugo Solano. Please pray for strength for the family of Juan.