Gustavo Julian Garcia Execution: Man Sentenced To Death Because He's ‘Hispanic’

hispanic execution
RIGHT: Gustavo Julian Garcia, 43, who has spent more than half of his life on death row, is shown in this booking photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville, Texas February 2, 2016. He was convicted of shooting liquor store clerk to death in a robbery outside of Dallas in 1990. LEFT: A lethal injection table used by the prison in past executions. REUTERS/Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice

Convicted murderer Gustavo Julian Garcia, 43, was deemed more dangerous to society because he was Hispanic. After 24 years of appeals, an escape attempt and various legal moves to stay his execution, Garcia is scheduled to die tonight by lethal injection at the Huntsville prison in Texas. Twenty-four is also the number of factors cited by an expert witness in Julian Garcia’s murder sentencing. Among the reasons why Julian Garcia couldn’t shouldn’t be given life in prison or the possibility of parole: his Hispanic heritage.

That witness, psychologist Walter Quijano, testified in 6 death penalty cases in Texas. Quijano regularly argued that black and Latino men pose a greater threat to society because they are minorities. His questionable testimony in Julian Garcia’s 1990 trial was one factor that led to a retrial in 2001. The inmate’s lawyers also argued he was poorly represented, that his confession should not have been admitted into court, and that two of the jurors in his trial should have been excluded from the jury. The retrial was unable to overturn the murderer's death sentence, however.

Garcia, then teenager, was convicted in the early 1990s for a convenience store robbery that turned into a murder. He and his accomplice, the a minor 15-year-old, shot and killed liquor store clerk Craig Turski, 43. A few years after his conviction, Julian Garcia tried unsuccessfully to escape death row. One of his fellow inmates was killed in the process. Tuesday night’s execution will mark the 534 th person put to death by the state of Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a blanket ban on the practice in 1972 and the third executed this year. Thirteen men were executed in Texas in 2015.

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