Before George Rivas's Execution, His Attorney Talks About the "Poster Boy for Death Penalty"

Categories: Crime

GeorgeRivas.jpg
George Rivas is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m.
It's been 11 years since George Rivas lead the Texas Seven in their escape from prison and shooting of a police officer, and the hour of his death is fast-approaching. At around 6 p.m, the State of Texas will end his life by lethal injection.

Rivas confessed that he was the ringleader of the group of rapists, murders and robbers that notoriously escaped from a Karnes County prison on December 13, 2000. Rivas was serving multiple life sentences for multiple crimes including an aggravated kidnapping, according to the Chicago Tribune, which notes that an Arizona prisoner will also be put to death today.

After a rash of robberies across the state, the Texas Seven held up the Oshman's in Irving, killing police officer Aubrey Hawkins and fleeing with more than $70,000 in cash, dozens of guns, ammunition and the jewelry and wallets of store employees.

The bullets that killed Hawkins came from several different guns. The group went on the run until they were captured in Colorado a month later. One of the seven committed suicide before their arrest; the other six were sentenced to death, and one has already been administered a lethal injection.

From the moment he and the others were caught in Colorado, Rivas knew this day would come, says Wayne Huff, his defense attorney during Rivas's original trial. By the time Huff met his new client in Colorado in 2001, Rivas had already confessed on national television, telling people that he expected -- and wanted -- the death penalty.

From the outset, Rivas made himself a "poster boy for the death penalty," Huff tells Unfair Park. "He was willing to take the blame for all of his co-defendants."

As far as defense tactics are concerned, there wasn't much of anything that called his guilt into question. Huff set out to convince at least one jury member that Rivas didn't deserve death. One would be enough to keep him in prison for life. But the jury unanimously agreed with Rivas: He deserved to die.

Rivas didn't make it a hard decision. "He's one of the few people that ever told the jury that he expected to get the death penalty and that he really wasn't afraid of it," Huff says. "I hadn't had anyone who basically from the beginning said he wanted it."

"This whole case is a tragedy and a waste of life. It's just a tragic waste of everything -- of George and the officer and all of that. It's just terrible," Huff says while adding that the system worked as it should in this case. Facts supported the jury's decision.

Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins mentioned today's scheduled execution at an exoneration hearing last week, when he revealed that his great-grandfather had been put to death by the state and said it's time to revisit how and why Texas puts its prisoners to death. In December, he discussed his complex view on the issue with Unfair Park.

My Voice Nation Help
53 comments
kaoriotanifb
kaoriotanifb

Young police officer's life is taken.and,include one suicide,taking seven life is called Justice in Texas.include getaway driver who warned others to stop and leave.You know apparently innocent people taken their life by state of Texas.I have strange feeling reading comment who are sure him/herself is not will be criminal,also,never be misunderstood as criminal.Texas is very strange place governor denies scientifically-probed evidence of innocence.(This is not Texas seven case.)I'm really puzzled.Texas denies Surpreme courts opinion as "It's not for Texas"At least,Rivas took full responsibirity for officer's death,and kept telling for his co-defender who was not involved officer's death,as they were not the scene,to the last media appearance.I'm not sure who has good heart,who keep yelling he/she want to die all surviving,now most of them doesn't have responsibirity for officer's death.I feel it's psycological attempt of keeping "criminal"out of their life,even(or,because) the line is unclear.It's like a scream "I'm not those kinds of people,so kill them quickly!"Are you sure you will not be involved?

kaoriotanifb
kaoriotanifb

Yep,sorry for being so harsh.cause comments here are much thoughtful and not just "kill'em!"like other place,except few comment.

Tonypriv125
Tonypriv125

getting rid of the death penalty is the STUPIDEST THING EVER....you heard what he said. mcduff got out of the death penalty and killed 6 more people. JUSTICE IS JUSTICEMURDER IS MURDER. taking ones life is bad,,,,,taking the life of a criminal that just doesn't give a crap is not bad!!!!and another thing... our justice system is more about money, the judge, jurys, and lawyers dont care about justice, they just want money..our whole system is just corrupt!!!!!

Dawilcocks71
Dawilcocks71

GET RID OF THE DEATH PENALTY ALREADY!

Bjhnomas
Bjhnomas

I AGREE TOTALLY!  MURDER IS MURDER!!  EVEN THE PERSON WHO IS IN CHARGE OF PROVIDING THE LETHAL INJECTION IS A MURDERER.

Mike
Mike

He was already in prison for what essentially was life before he escaped and murdered the police officer. If we do not execute him, exactly what punishment do we exact? Take away privileges? Without death penalty, we do not have another notch to keep others like him in line. He just keeps killing?

WatchingSouth Detroit
WatchingSouth Detroit

You are exactly right.  The left wing huggers would give Rivas a free pass on this murder.

Nitrous
Nitrous

this is a silly arguement.  To suggest that because of ongoing criminal behavior by some, execution is a justifiable penalty is flawed.  At the end of the day, killing anyone with premeditation is wrong.  The US would like to think that they are so different from those in the middle east who execute and punish under religeous law.   The fact is, you have to accept that state sanctioined killing is still killing. 

The victims of capital punishment are far broader than the condemed man.  Everyone who participates in this process is a victim of the capital punishement process.

I hope that the US can rise up beyond this ugly part of its history.Nitrous

Albert
Albert

The guy's dead, no-one cares. RIH, dickweed.

WatchingSouth Detroit
WatchingSouth Detroit

To all those who are crying over George Rivas - how about crying over the police officer they killed instead.  Also how about crying over these criminals' previous victims that got these men put into prison in the first place.  You people are so worried about the criminal that you ignore the victims of their crimes.

Remember the story of Kenneth Mcduff?  He attacked and killed a couple back in the 1960's.  Raped the girl before he killed her.  Mcduff was sentenced to death but when the death penalty was stopped, he lived.  At some point, the bleeding hearts said that he was rehabilitated and Mcduff was paroled.  Mcduff went on to kill 6 more people before he was caught again.  6 people that would still be alive if Mcduff's original sentence was carried out.

Some people are just evil.  They exist just to hurt others and enjoy it.     

 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin like.author.displayName 1 Like

c'mon, we are supposed to have feelings for theses criminals.  God had a purpose for him, and apparently it was to murder gods other children. 

Chris
Chris like.author.displayName 1 Like

killing 6 People for 1 murder. You are really insane over there. But maybe you will get also civilized like rest of western world in few years, meanwhile have fun beeing in a row with china, iran, pakistan...

WatchingSouth Detroit
WatchingSouth Detroit

I guess you just want to give him a hug and say how sorry you are that Rivas was "forced" to murder a cop.  How would you punish a guy who was already in prison for life?  

scottindallas
scottindallas

I do think this is a compelling case.  Of course, death penalty supporters would have you believe every man/woman put to death is this vicious.  I make my case above and won't reiterate it wholly.  But, I do think Rivas has some use for psychological and behavioral studies perhaps.  Looking at his record, I'm curious what made him the way he is?  So, sparing even this most guilty is justifiable.  We're talking about broad policy.  If you want an exception for escapee double murderers, I might relent.

Tim Covington
Tim Covington

The simple fact is that George Rivas is one of the few times the death penalty can be justified. He has proven that, even if you lock him up, he will do his best to escape and present a threat to others.

Most of the time, I disagree with death penalty. It should only be used when the person will pose a continuing threat to human life. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

Well, why not put him in under minimum security, leave the door open, just make sure you got a shot before he gets out of your sights.  Perhaps the way to treat these guys, put them in a cell block with the end door open, that's cheaper than the 2 death penalty trials that are necessary. 

Claude White
Claude White

Oh, my dear Lord, did you want us to kill each other here?

Claude White
Claude White

Oh, my Lord, did you want us to kill each other?

Traviesa_7709
Traviesa_7709

Texas should be ashamed! Rip George Rivas!

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

ashamed? What about the victim? Rivas was a career criminal and I'm sure he knew that dying would be better than living out his life in prison. Did you know he was already in prison serving 18 consecutive 15 to life sentences? Shame on you. RIP Aubrey Hawkins.

NatC77
NatC77

Yes, Texas should be ashamed. You're spot on.

Melaniesweets72
Melaniesweets72

Well Nat maybe you'll understand after they rape your daughter before they kill her.

scottindallas
scottindallas

  it costs 5-7 times more to kill a man as to lock him up for life.  Do you think we have too much free money in the gov't budget? 

NatC77
NatC77

What a nasty, thoughtless comment Melaniesweets72. For your information, I do not condone what Rivas and the Texas Seven did. I just don't see the sense in killing to say killing is wrong. As Ghandi said, ''An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind''. Perhaps one day you'll realize this. However, judging by your horrible post, I've got grave doubts that you ever will. Sad really. I pity people like you.

Jim
Jim

How about just keeping this one horrible SOB from hurting anyone else. He was serving multiple life sentences for multiple robberies and kidnappings when he ESCAPED from prison and murdered a very fine man. Society has a right to self defense and has done just that.

WatchingSouth Detroit
WatchingSouth Detroit

The Melaniesweetes72 is making - have you or your family ever been the victim of a violent crime - rape, murder, etc.?  Unfortunately, many people have.  If so, maybe you would understand from the victims point of view.  You show so much concern for the criminal but so little compassion or understanding for the victims.

NatC77
NatC77

Yet another state-sanctioned murder. Correction. State-sanctioned suicide. Rivas wants to die. He's getting what he wants. Perhaps all of you pro death penalty barbarians should think about that. But no, you're all too consumed by the need to taste the blood of revenge on your lips. Sickening. Abolish the death penalty.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

He wants to die and he committed crimes. I'm all for it. I'm not pro-death penalty, but this is an open-shut case.

Michael in LH
Michael in LH

NatC77 -  how's the fishing? You should try to disguise your bait a little better when trolling.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Michael, just do tell me that you pay $1000 to go fishing and try to justify the cost on a $/lb basis.  I think it's folly to appeal for mercy for murderers, but the fact is, it costs 5-7 times more to kill a man as to lock him up for life.  Do you think we have too much free money in the gov't budget? 

Ncobain77
Ncobain77

Oh, such wit. Firstly, I don't fish. I'm an animal activist. Secondly, I'm not trolling. I'm just a passionate anti death penalty activist with a few points to make. I've made them. Job done. Lastly, I don't need to 'disguise my bait'. I don't comment to elicit responses. End of story.

Michael in LH
Michael in LH

Naw, what you really are is an over the top hilarious stereo-type.

YourNameHere
YourNameHere

It's not murder. It's not suicide. And it's not revenge. It's called justice. Look it up.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 It's justice that costs 5-7 times more than locking him for life.  If you want to make people like this comfort convicts for the others, fine with me.  I don't care enough about the man to blow an extra 5-7 times more for him than any other.  It's called profligacy, waste and bad policy, look it up.

Dainty62
Dainty62

Since when has murder been considered justice. Texas murders are mostly committed by so called good baptist people like Perry and Bush.

finn
finn

It must be a constant struggle being so righteous and godly. America, land of the weak and home of the coward. bless your little cottons, scared of your own shadows guns under your pillows and executing everyone. you need to chill out a bit.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Seriously?

You need to punch yourself in the face.

Dainty62
Dainty62

Justice is not to murder legally or ilegally. Why are they executing the mexican americans first. Why is Newbury getting a stay, is that justice, I call it Texas racisim. Why didn't Susan Wright get the death penelty. She murdered a man who was an officer as well. But I have found that law officers are more corrupt than offenders. They think the badge is their god and can hurt whoever they want. If you are going to execute the Texas 7 be fair and execute the gringos who were more dangerous than Rivas was. There is no justice in Texas. Thou Shall Not Kill and that goes for everyone. You who pull the switch are also murderers. The jury are also murderers. You will pay your crimes at the end for you are just as guilty. You Republicans who say pro-life, you are so stupid , you kill more than save lives. Read your bibles.

Rachel Craig
Rachel Craig

I would prefer them not to do executions at all. Regardless of the morality, it is barbaric, inhumane and costs more than to imprison a man for life.

If a gang of twelve people dispense street justice on a one to one level on someone who breaks their laws can be executed...then it seems rather strange to watch a different gang of twelve people dispense that same justice but nicely keeping their hands clean. Where does it stop?

Also ONE innocent person who is executed...just the one, and we know there have been far more, and that makes it the murder of an innocent. Justice would demand that the judge jury and executioner are prosecuted for that offence wouldn't it? There is no room for collateral damage here.

Sarkis10
Sarkis10

I would suggest that you are the one who is seriously misguided if you honestly believe that political killing is justified!! The big USA has to take a long hard look at itself because the fundamental values that rule the contry are considerably flawed!!. i am against capital punishment, regardless of this how can america justify lethal injection to Rivas when serial killers have been on death row for 20 plus years!!

Jim
Jim

You sir... Are an idiot!

Jay
Jay

You are confused. Murder is the unlawful taking of a human life. Execution is state sanctioned, legal killing of criminals who were convicted of committing only the most violent and destructive crimes.

However, by your statement that you have found law officers to be more corrupt than offenders, such as the late Mr. Rivas, I will assume that you are not only confused but either extremely ignorant or a criminal yourself.

But the world is a better place today, because George Rivas will never murder another human being.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Don't appeal to the decency of people.  Try cynicism, it costs 5-7 times more to put a man to death than it does to lock him up for life.  If they'd incarcerated Jesus for life, rather than nailing him to the cross, he probably wouldn't have gotten the last laugh. 

Algerians tell the story about Ahmed Zabana, a freedom fighter from their perspective that the French put him to the guillotine.  Twice the guillotine dropped, and twice it stuck a foot from his neck--by French tradition, one such event was enough to spare the life of the condemned.  But they ran the guillotine 3 times to finally execute Zabana.  You think that execution was effective as policy and deterrent?  Can you imagine the din of "Allah akbar" that night? 

NatC77
NatC77

Justice to you perhaps. Don't speak for all of us.

El Rey
El Rey

"it's time to revisit how and why Texas puts its prisoners to death."

Scum like Rivas is why we have the death penalty. The only failure of the death-penalty system is the failure to have the best investigations, prosecution, and defense on these cases. The bar should be very high to condemn people to death, but some crimes deserve the harshest penalty.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 I trust you know my opposition to the death penalty.  It is based on financial concerns.  It would seem that is a case where there is no disputing the identity of the perpetrator.  His crimes are vicious, and, it seems there is some substantial flaw in this man that makes him utterly unfit to walk among his fellow man.  What went wrong?  Was it his genes, his childhood?  I want to know.  We should want to know, to learn how to avoid this ever again. 

I suppose that makes as good a case as any to justify sparing his life.  He's proven he's unworthy and incapable of liberty and freedoms; but that doesn't mean he doesn't possess some lesson for us.  We, when we discuss the death penalty are discussing policy.  That policy is a broad and blunt instrument.  I have to go back to my point, that it cost 5-7 times more to put a man to death than it does to incarcerate him for life.  And, even this man, who's guilt is unquestioned.  Who's crimes are certainly heinous enough to strip him of his humanity.  He possesses with him, be it DNA or terrible rearing, or some critical deficiency presumably the clues to why he was so vicious and wanton a man. 

Trey
Trey

 The picture attached to  this article is not of George Rivas. It would be nice if all information posted was verified and edited before being released to the general public.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

 Indeed, that was another of the Texas Seven, Donald Newbury. The error has been corrected. Our apologies.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...