Joe Garza, Jr., Texas


Update: Thursday, December 31, 2020

On Tuesday, December 29, 2020, Joe Garza was found unresponsive inside his cell on Texas' death row.  He was pronounced dead a short time later at 5:01 am, after lifesaving measures were attempted.  Joe was 49 years of age.  His cause of death is currently under investigation, although no foul play or self harm is suspected.  Pray for his family.

Update: Monday, August 31, 2015, 9:34 am EDT

Joe Franco Garza, Jr., was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on Wednesday, September 2, 2015, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. His execution date has been withdrawn. Forty-three-year-old Joe is convicted of robbing and murdering 71-year-old preacher, Silbiano Rangel, on December 31, 1998, in Lubbock, Texas. Joe has spent the last 15 years on Texas’ death row.

The execution date of Wednesday, September 2, 2015, for Joe Franco Garza, Jr., has been withdrawn. According to the Lubbock County District Clerk Office, the execution was withdrawn due to an agreement to allow for additional DNA testing of evidence.

As a juvenile, Joe had been arrested for a variety of crimes including burglary, theft, arson, evading arrest, and resisting arrest. Joe had also served time at a juvenile justice center, from which he attempted to escape. As an adult, Joe was arrested multiple times for public intoxication, as well as, assault and robbery. During his time in prison, Joe was known to attack other inmates and correctional officers. Joe was also believed to have been a member of a gang, although no affirmative proof could be gathered. At the time of the murder, 27-year-old Joe had a 13-year-old pregnant girlfriend. Joe was also on parole for burglary.


On December 31, 1998, Joe Garza was drinking at his cousin’s home, when someone called and asked Silbiano Rangel, a hispanic preacher, to come over. Silbiano drove Garza and his cousin to the liquor store to buy more alcohol. Upon arriving at the store, they realized that they had no money, so Silbiano drove them to a home of a nearby friend. Garza’s cousin went inside to try and persuade the friend to loan them some money.


While he was inside, Garza strangled Silbiano with a sock. Upon his cousin’s return, Garza ordered her to help move the body. Garza also took Silbiano’s wallet, jewelry, and keys to the truck. Upon their return to the cousin’s home, Garza lied about why he had Silbiano’s truck. Garza drove the truck to Dallas that night, along with his 13-year-old pregnant girlfriend. Garza sold the truck and some of Silbiano’s jewelry. He also bought several things with Silbiano’s checks. Garza and his girlfriend took the bus back to Lubbock.


Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Silbiano Rangel. Please pray for strength for the family of Joe Garza. Please pray that if Garza is innocent, or lacks the competency to be executed, evidence will be presented prior to his execution. Please pray that Garza will come to find a peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.



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