Anibal Canales, Jr., Texas
Updated: Monday, March 27, 2023
On Wednesday, March 29, 2023, Texas planned to execute Anibal Canales, Jr., at 6 pm local time, inside the Walls Unit execution chamber at the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. His execution date has been withdrawn. Fifty-eight-year-old Anibal is convicted of murdering 47-year-old Gary Dickerson at the Telford Unit in Bowie County, Texas on July 11, 1997. Anibal has been on death row in Texas for the last 22 years.
Anibal was born in Lake County, Illinois. Both of his parents were alcoholics and his father was often violent. Eventually, his parents split up and his mother remarried. His stepfather was physically and sexually abusive toward Anibal and his sister. Anibal and his family lived in poverty and he began drinking at the age of 10. Around the same age, he was also forced to join the Latin Kings gang. When Anibal’s mother left his stepfather, Anibal was sent to live with his father, who moved less than a year later and told Anibal he could not come with him. He spiraled into more crime and substance abuse and dropped out of high school after the 10th grade. He worked as a sound engineer and labor during his time out of prison.
At the age of 13, Anibal was arrested for car theft. By the age of 14, he was an alcoholic. Anibal did not have a stable home, moving between juvenile detention facilities, homelessness, and the homes of other family members. Eventually, his mother moved in with John Ramirez, who abused Anibal’s mother and sister.
At the age of 18 Anibal Canales stole an income check from Ramirez. Ramirez insisted upon prosecuting Canales, who ended up in federal prison. Canales’ sister later testified that Ramirez wanted Canales out of the way, as he would protect his family from Ramirez’s beatings. Shortly after being sent to federal prison, Canales was also convicted of theft and sexual assault, resulting in a 15-year prison sentence. While serving time, he going the Texas Syndicate prison gang.
In 1990, Canales was paroled. He attempted to build a new life for himself, including cutting back on drinking and using drugs, getting a girlfriend, and even talking about marriage. However, in 1992, Canales’ mother suffered a severe brain aneurysm, leading to him falling back into old habits. In 1993, he was back in prison and convicted of a second sexual assault. While in prison, he suffered a heart attack and was placed on blood thinners. The medication caused him to bruise easily and bleed excessively if he was cut. Upon discovering he was convicted of sexual assault, the Texas Syndicate ordered him to be killed.
Canales’ cellmate was the leader of another prison gang, the Texas Mafia. Canales was permitted to join the Texas Mafia, who made a deal with the Texas Syndicate to spare Canales’ life. After joining the Texas Mafia, Canales was ordered to help kill an inmate, Gary Dickerson. Gary was allegedly blackmailing the Texas Mafia gang. Canales was also ordered to write a note to another inmate, exaggerating his part in the murder.
While unable to testify at Canales’ trial due to medical reasons, another inmate claimed to have been talking to Canales during the time of the murder.
Canales’ execution date has been withdrawn by the Bowie County District Attorney in order to allow additional time for Canales’ lawyers to prepare their case and file appeals.
Please pray for healing for the family of Gary Dickerson. Pray for strength for the family of Anibal Canales. Pray that if Anibal is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be provided before his execution. Please pray that Anibal may find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
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