Did You Know?

Three men and zero women have been

executed in the United States in 2019.

3 Killed in Utrecht, Netherlands
Three individuals have been killed, and five others injured, after a shooting on a tram in the city of Utrecht, Netherlands. Police are calling the incident a terrorist attack and are have arrested a suspect. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for healing for the injured.
180 Killed in Africa
At least 180 individuals have been killed across southern Africa, including 84 in Mozambique, from Cyclone Idai. The official death toll is expected to rise drastically, with President Filipe Nyusi speculating that over 1,000 have been killed. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for those who are missing. Please pray for all affected.
5 Killed in Mumbai, India
At least five individuals have been killed, and over 30 others injured, when a footbridge to Mumbai’s main train station collapsed. The reason for the collapse is under investigation. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for healing for the injured.
8 Killed in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Eight individuals were killed at a school in Sao Paulo, Brazil after two former students opened fire inside the school. Five of those killed were students. The two gunman killed themselves as police arrived. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for the community.
73 Killed in Papua
At least 73 individuals have died from a surprise flood in Papua, a province of Indonesia. The flash flooding was caused by torrential rain, which also caused mudslides and landslides. Over 60 others are missing. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for the safety of the missing. Please pray for all those affected.
24 Killed in Democratic Republic of Congo
At least 24 individuals were killed, and over 30 others injured, when a train overturned in Kasai province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of those killed were children. The cause of the accident is believed to be unmaintained tracks. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for healing for the injured.
Protests Turn Violent in Paris, France
For the past four months, “yellow vests” protests have occurred in France, initially as an protest against the increase of fuel taxes. For the most part, the protests have been peaceful, however, they have now turned violent, with protestors smashing shops on the famed Champs-Élysées in Paris. Please pray for those affected. Please pray for peace.
2 Israelis Killed in West Bank
An Israeli soldier and a rabbi were killed by an unknown Palestinian attacker in the West Bank. The soldier was stabbed to death and then his rifle was used to kill the rabbi. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for peace.
3 Killed in Midwestern Flooding
At least three individuals have been killed due to severe flooding in the midwestern part of the United States. Rain, along with melting of snow has caused the flooding. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for the safety of all affected.
49 Killed in Mosque Shootings
At least 49 individuals have been killed, and 20 others injured, in two shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the shootings. Police also discovered explosive devices nearby. Officials has designated this incident as a terrorist attack. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for healing for the injured. Please pray for peace.

May 16, 2018

 

Juan Edward Castillo has been executed by the state of Texas.  Juan was pronounced dead at 6:44 pm CDT, on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, inside the Walls Unit execution chamber at the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.  Thirty-seven-year-old Juan was convicted of murdering 19-year-old Tommy Garcia, Jr., on December 3, 2003, in San Antonio, Texas.  Juan spent the last 12 years of his life on Texas’ death row.

 

Juan had previously worked as a cook and a laborer.  He was previously convicted of deadly conduct with a firearm.  During the trial, witnesses also testified that Juan was a violent man, threatening and beating the mother of his child.  Additionally, he had previously shot a man during a road rage incident, boasted about similar crimes, and bragged about committing home invasions and robberies.

 

In December 2003, Juan Castillo was dating Debra Espinosa.  Late on December 2, and during the early morning hours of December 3, 2003, the couple was with Francisco Gonzales, a friend of Castillo, and Gonzales’ girlfriend Teresa Quintero.  The four of them created a plan to rob Tommy Garcia, Jr., with whom Espinosa had previously been intimate.  

 

Espinosa was to take Tommy to secluded spot in a residential neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas.  Castillo and Gonzales, in masks and armed with guns, would storm the car and rob Tommy.  Espinosa would play along, as if she were a victim too.  Quintero would serve as the get away driver from Castillo and Gonzales.  During the ensuing robbery, Tommy was shot and killed by Castillo, according to the others.

 

Gonzales was arrested by the police as he fled from the scene, with Espinosa arrested a short time later.  Both agreed to testify against Castillo in exchange for a reduced charge and a sentence of forty years in prison.  Gonzales and Espinosa testified that Castillo took the lead in planning the robbery.  They also testified that he was the person who shot and killed Tommy.

Some of Gonzales’s family members also testified that they heard Castillo confess to the crime and speak of how he hid the evidence.  Two of Tommy’s friends testified that they were with him when he received a phone call to meet up with Espinosa.  Shortly thereafter, they received a phone call from a hysterical Espinosa, who said that Tommy had been shot.  Castillo had also been seen wearing a distinctive necklace that Tommy had been wearing the night he was killed.

 

Castillo was convicted.  During the punishment phase of the trial, Castillo elected to represent himself, a move that was allowed after the court determined Castillo was making a knowing and voluntary decision.  His two appointed attorneys remained as stand-by counsel.  Castillo was sentenced to death.

 

Juan Castillo had been scheduled to be executed on Thursday, September 7, 2017.  His execution was delayed at the request of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.  They requested that Juan’s execution be rescheduled due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey days before.  In their request, the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office noted that several members of Juan’s legal defense lived and worked in the Houston area, which was hit particularly hard by the hurricane, with torrential rain and flooding.  The request was granted and the execution rescheduled for December 14, 2017.  The December execution was stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in order to all time to investigate claims of false testimony.  Ultimately, it was ruled that the testimony of the witness who recanted was not pivotal to the case.

 

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Tommy Garcia.  Pleas pray for strength for the family of Juan. 

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