April 16, 2014
Shortly after 7 pm CDT, on April 16, 2014, Jose Luis Villegas, Jr. was executed at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Jose was 39 years of age. He celebrated his final birthday on April 14, just two days prior to his execution. Jose was executed for murdering his ex-girlfriend, 24-year-old Erida Perez Salazar; Erida’s son, 3-year-old Jacob Salazar; and Erida’s mother, 51-year-old Alma Perez. The murders occurred in Nueces County, Texas. Jose spent the last 12 years of his life on Texas’ death row.
Jose did not have an easy childhood. His mother died a prolonged and painful death from scleroderma. She had a total of 18 amputations before her death. Jose’s father was an alcoholic and abusive to his children. At least two family members had concerns over Jose’s mental health as a child. Later, Jose would be identified as having intermittent, explosive, post-traumatic stress, dissociative, and major depressive disorders. Additionally, Jose was addicted to cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol. Jose dropped out of school after the ninth grade and worked as a cook, dishwasher, and laborer prior to being arrested.
Around 5:00 am, on January 22, 2001, Jose Villegas and Erida Perez Salazar used approximately $200 of cocaine at Erida's house. When Alma Perez arrived at the house after taking her granddaughter to school, she discovered Villegas in the house. She had previously warned Erida to not let him into the house. Alma ordered Villegas to leave the house. Villegas grabbed a knife and stabbed Alma 35 times. He then went into the bedroom and stabbed Erida 32 times and Jacob 19 times. Villegas stole Erida’s vehicle and a television, which he sold for more cocaine.
Alma’s husband, Lionicio Perez returned to the home around 9:15 am, after being released early from jury duty, and found the bodies of Alma, Erida, and Jacob, all bruised and lying in pools of blood. Lionicio ran to a neighbor’s house and called the police. The neighbor told police that she had seen Villegas leaving the Perez’s house around 8:45 am.
Around 9:30 am, police spotted Villegas in Erida’s vehicle. Villegas led police on a high speed chase and foot pursuit before they finally caught him. Found in his possession was three baggies of cocaine. Villegas confessed to the murders after being arrested and informed of his rights. Villegas also claimed he was going to use the cocaine to commit suicide by overdosing, but fled when he saw police at the house.
Jose Villegas was found guilty by a jury, who deliberated less than 20 minutes, on May 16, 2002. During sentencing, it was revealed that this was not Villegas’s first encounter with the police. His other crimes include numerous assaults against family members, terroristic threats, a burglary and a shoplifting charge, and one incident of indecency with the daughter of a woman he was accused of punching in the face. Additionally, Villegas had spent 200 days in jail and four years on probation, of which he had problems following the rules and of which he was on at the time of the murders.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Alma, Erida, and Jacob. Please pray for strength for the family of Jose Villegas.
March 18, 2014
Stephen Rex Edmiston's execution was scheduled for 7 pm EDT, on April 16, 2014, at the State Correctional Institute Rockview in Rockview, Pennsylvania. Stephen's execution has been stayed by US District Judge Kim Gibson to allow time for Stephen to complete his federal appeals. Fifty-five-year-old Stephen is convicted of killing 2-year-old Bobbi Joe Matthew on October 5, 1988, after kidnapping her from her house in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Stephen has spent the last 26 years on Pennsylvania's death row.
On the night of October 4, 1988, Bobbi Joe Matthew went to bed wearing a pair of purple shorts in the home she lived in with her father, Harold Matthew, her grandmother, Nancy Dotts, and several other children. Harold later fell asleep on the couch. Around 3:30 am, Harold was awakened by a man with a beard and wearing a ball cap. The man apologized for waking Harold and after the two a brief conversation, Harold went back to sleep.
Two children identified a man of similar description entering their bedroom just moments later. According to the children the man walked over to talk to Bobbi Jo, left the bedroom, and then returned, whisper something to Bobbi Jo, and leave again. A few minutes later, a vehicle was seen leaving the home.
Nancy arrived home around 5:30 am on October 5, 1988. She went to the children's bedroom to check on them but did not see Bobbi Jo. Nancy awoke Harold to ask him about the missing child. Harold and the children all described the man they had seen. Nancy recognized the description as the nephew of the man she was dating. This information was reported to the police who tracked down the nephew, Stephen Edmiston.
A search of Edmiston's pick-up truck revealed blood on the driver's side seatbelt receptacle, blood in the middle of the bench seat, a blood stained towel, bloody scissors, and purple shorts, similar to the ones Bobbi Jo wore to bed. Edmiston eventually confessed to police to raping Bobbi Jo in his truck and then hitting her several times with his fists until she stopped moving. Edmiston also drew the police a map of where Bobbi Jo's body was located. When police asked him what they would find at the site he indicated on the map, Edmiston replied "a dead, raped little girl."
Medical testimony at Edmiston's trial claimed that Bobbi Jo's cause of death was a combination of the several severe injuries the young child suffer including scalping, blunt force injuries, and trauma to the genital area. Bobbi Jo was scalped from her ear, across her front hairline and down to her other ear. Her scalp was peeled back to the nape of her neck, exposing her entire skull. The blunt force trauma to her torso caused her liver and lungs to tear. Her intestines protruded from her genital area, which was completely obliterated and ripped. There were also areas of burning on her body along with many other lacerations, abrasions, and a skull fracture.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Bobbi Jo. Please pray for strength for the family of Stephen Edmiston. Please pray that Stephen may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he had not already found one.
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