Ruben Gutierrez, Texas

Updated: Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Ruben Gutierrez has been granted a temporary stay of execution by the Supreme Court of the United States, in order to allow time for his appeals to be considered.  As the stay was not lifted prior to the execution warrant expiring, the execution was not carries out.

Updated: Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Ruben Gutierrez has requested that the Supreme Court of the United States issue a stay for his execution, scheduled for this evening.  He argues that he is innocent of the crime for which he is convicted and that there is DNA evidence that has not yet been tested.  Ruben's case has also caught the attention of Kim Kardashian West, who has tweeted at Texas Governor Greg Abbott, asking that he conduct a full review before allowing Ruben to be executed..  Ruben is also arguing that his execution should be stayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has halted executions in the state since March.  Additionally, Texas recently stopped allowing any spiritual advisors into the execution chamber, although they can observe the execution in the witness room and be with the inmate in the moments leading up to entering the execution chamber.  Ruben is arguing that not allowing his spiritual advisor in the execution chamber is a violation of his 1st Amendment rights.

Updated: Monday, June 15, 2020

Ruben Gutierrez is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Forty-three-year-old Ruben is convicted of murdering 85-year-old Escolastica Harrison on September 5, 1998, in her Brownsville, Texas mobile home. Ruben has spent the last 21 years of his life on Texas’ death row.

Ruben was born in Florida and dropped out of school after the eighth grade. Before going to prison, he worked as a fork lift operator and a laborer.

On the evening of September 5, 1998, Ruben Gutierrez and Rene Gracia entered the mobile home and office of Escolastica Harrison, the owner of a mobile home park. After entering, with the intention of robbing the safe, Escolastica was struck on the head.

The intruders had hoped to incapacitate Escolastica by making her unconscious, however, she was not knocked unconscious and struggled against the intruders. They struck her on the head multiple times with their fists and steel-toed shoes. She was also stabbed multiple times with two screwdrivers. Escolastica’s cheekbones were broken and she received severe brain damage, resulting in her death. Ruben and Rene fled the office with at least $56,000 in cash.

Ruben was convicted and sentenced to death on May 14, 1999. Ruben has contested his death sentence by arguing that there is no evidence that directly links him to Escolastica’s death. Ruben has admitted to helping plan the robbery, but denies participating in the murder. Rene, who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, pointed to Ruben as the killer.

 

Ruben was scheduled to be executed on September 12, 2018, however his execution was stayed by a federal judge with the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Approximately one month before his execution, Ruben was assigned new legal representation because his former lawyer claimed she did not have the expertise to handle the case and she was no longer allowed to practice before the 5th Circuit Court of appeals due to previous rude behavior towards court staff. Prior to the 2018 execution, Ruben was also asking that his execution be halted to allow time for additional DNA testing on evidence which had not previously been tested.

 

Ruben was then scheduled to be executed on July 31, 2019. However, this execution was rescheduled to October 30, 2019, when the execution warrant of the July execution date was withdrawn. Ruben was granted a stay for his October execution date due to a clerical error.

 

Leading up to his execution, Ruben was granted a stay of execution by a District Court, after arguing that there was untested DNA evidence, and that his 1st Amendment rights are being violated because a spiritual advisor is not allowed in the execution chamber.  Texas appealed the stay of execution to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, who lifted the stay.  Additionally, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has rejected a request to halt the execution.

 

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Escolastica Harrison. Please pray for strength for the family of Ruben Gutierrez. Please pray that if Ruben is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be provided prior to his execution. Please pray that Ruben may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.

 

 

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