Friday, July 19, 2024

“Texas 7” Member Randy Halprin Granted Stay of Execution

Randy Halprin, Texas

October 4, 2019

Randy HalprinRandy Ethan Halprin was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on Thursday, October 10, 2019, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.  He received a stay of execution.  Forty-two-year-old Randy is sentenced to death for his part in the murder of 29-year-old Police Officer Aubrey Hawkins on December 24, 2000, in Irving, Texas.  Randy has spent the last 16 years on death row in Texas.

Randy was born in Texas.  He was raised in the Jewish faith, including having a Bar Mitzvah when he was 13.  He dropped out of school after the 11th grade.  Randy worked as a laborer and performed maintenance before being arrested.  In 1997, Randy was convicted and given a 30-year sentence for severely beating an 18-month-old child he was babysitting.  The child suffered two broken legs, two broken arms, and a skull fracture.  When he confessed, Randy claimed that he was upset that the child wouldn’t stop crying.

Randy Halprin was serving his time at the John B. Connally Unit, a maximum-security state prison near Kenedy, Texas, when he joined six other inmates – 38-year-old Donald Newbury, 39-year-old Joseph C. Garcia, 37-year-old Larry James Harper, 39-year-old Patrick Henry Murphy, Jr., 30-year-old George Rivas, and 38-year-old Michael Anthony Rodriguez – in a conspiracy to break out of the prison.  The group, led by George Rivas, became known as the “Texas 7.”  All were serving sentences of 30 years or longer, most with potential life sentences.

On December 13, 2000, around 11:20 am, the seven inmates used a variety of ploys to overpower and restrain nine civilian maintenance supervisors, four correctional officers, and three uninvolved inmates.  They had planned the escape during the slowest part of the day and in areas with low surveillance.  They stole a white prison truck to assist in their escape, eventually dumping it in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

After their escape, the group of seven fled to San Antonio, Texas.  On December 14, they robbed a Radio Shack in Pearland to obtain money.  On December 19, four of the seven checked into an Econo Lodge motel in Farmers Branch.  They decided, once again needing money, to rob Oshman’s Sporting Goods store in Irving, a nearby town.  For several days they observed the store and created their plans.

On December 24, 2000, they held up a store, stealing 44 guns and over $70,000 in cash.  A customer outside the store saw the hold-up and called the police.  Officer Aubrey Hawkins responded to the call and was immediately ambushed.  He suffered 11 gunshot wounds from at least five different weapons.  His body was dragged out of his vehicle and run over by the group as they fled the scene.

The Texas 7 were eventually arrested on January 22, 2001, with the help of the television show America’s Most Wanted, which featured their story on January 20, 2001.  Six of seven were captured. The seventh, Larry Harper, killed himself before he could be arrested. 

All six surviving members were charged, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder of Officer Hawkins.  As it was unclear who actually shot Officer Hawkins, they were convicted under the Law of Parties, which allows for a person to be criminally held responsible for another’s actions if that person acts with “the intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense and solicits, encourages, directs aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit the offense… If, in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators, all conspirator are guilty of the felony actually committed.”

Michael Anthony Rodriguez was executed on August 14, 2008, after asking that his appeals be stopped.  The ringleader, George Rivas, was executed on February 29, 2012.  Donald Newbury was executed on February 4, 2015.   Joseph Garcia was executed on December 4, 2018.  Patrick Murphy remains on death row.

During his trial, Randy and his lawyers argued that Randy should not be sentenced to death because he did not “want to take a gun in or participate in the robbery.”  Randy has also insisted that he did not fire a weapon during the robbery.

Recent appeals for Randy have also focused on his Jewish heritage.  Randy and his lawyers claim that the Dallas judge who ultimately sentenced him to death regularly expressed racist and anti-semitic remarks, which violated Randy’s right to due process and a fair trial.

Please pray for peace for the family of Aubrey Hawkins.  Please pray for strength for the family of Randy Halprin.  Pray that if Randy is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be presented before his execution.  Please pray that Randy may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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