Update: Wednesday, April 15, 2015  7:50 pm, EDT

 

Manuel Fernando Garza Jr., has been executed by the state of Texas.  Read the full story here.  

 

Update: Monday, April 13, 2015  3:44 pm, EDT

 

Manuel Fernando Garza Jr.'s, execution is scheduled to occur at 6 pm CDT, on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.  Thirty-four-year-old Manuel is convicted of the murder of 37-year-old San Antonio police officer John “Rocky” Riojas, in San Antonio, Texas on February 2, 2001.  Manuel has spent the last 12 years of his life on Texas’ death row.

 

Manuel had an abused childhood, with an unstable family environment.  His mother drank while pregnant with him, causing him to have fetal alcohol syndrome.  His father died of a heroine overdoes when he was a teenager.  Manuel dropped out of school during the 10th grade.  He worked as a short-order cook at a Texas Roadhouse prior to his arrest.  Manuel had a history of drug abuse and various crimes, including robbery, burglary, and drug crimes.  Manuel was also a member of a gang.

 

Manuel Garza was stopped by Officer John Riojas, who was in a marked police vehicle, on February 2, 2001.  Garza knew that there were several outstanding warrants for his arrest.  Instead of compelling with Officer Riojas’ instructions to place his hands on the car, Garza took off running, with Officer Riojas pursuing.  Garza later stated that he ran because he did not want to return to jail.

 

Officer Riojas caught up with Garza and the two engaged in a physical altercation.  During the altercation, Officer Riojas drew his weapon, which was taken by Garza.  Garza fired the weapon at Officer Riojas, killing him.  Garza was arrested two days later.

 

Garza was convicted and sentenced to death on November 8, 2002.

 

Texas has recently purchased additional doses of execution drugs, which will allow the state to carry out Manuel's execution, in addition to several others.  Texas has refused to identify the supplier of the execution drugs, an action which is part of a lawsuit against the state by death row inmates and death penalty opponents.

 

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Officer John Riojas.  Please pray for strength for the family of Manuel Garza.  Please pray that if Manuel is innocent or lacks the mental competency to be executed, evidence will be discovered before his execution.  Please pray that Manuel will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.

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