HUNTSVILLE (AP) — A farmer investigating a grass fire on a remote stretch of road near his South Texas home discovered the bodies of two men and a woman from San Antonio who had been shot, bound and wrapped in carpet that was set ablaze.READ MORE: 2 Dozen Dallas ISD Campuses Still Debating Alternative Calendars
Michael Paredes, 32, one of two men charged with the September 2000 slayings after police raided the home, is set for lethal injection Tuesday evening.
Paredes’ lethal injection would be the 10th this year in Texas. No others are scheduled for 2014, meaning the number of executions this year would be the lowest in the nation’s most active death penalty state since three were carried out in 1996. A least nine Texas prisoners, however, already have execution dates set for early 2015, including four in January.
Paredes, identified as belonging to the Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos gang, and two others were convicted of the slayings of the three San Antonio rival gang members. Paredes was 18 at the time of the slayings.
“The victims were Mexican Mafia affiliated,” Mary Green, the assistant Bexar County district attorney who prosecuted the case, said. “It all boiled down to a drug deal gone bad.”
Paredes’ attorney, David Dow, asked the federal courts to halt the punishment, arguing Paredes’ previous legal help was deficient. Dow also questioned Paredes’ mental competence when the inmate told a judge 10 years ago that he didn’t want lawyers looking into his family background so they could pursue appeals that jurors should have had more information about his poor childhood when they were deciding between a life prison term or a death sentence.
“It has become apparent that Paredes lived his entire life in fear of gangs and received little support from his parents,” Dow wrote in an appeal.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with state attorneys who disputed the arguments, rejected the appeal and refused to stop the execution.READ MORE: Family Of 'Kind, Loving' Man Shot By Stray Bullet Into Apartment, Struggling With Senseless Death
“All that gang life folklore, the romanticism, it’s crap,” a remorseful Paredes recently told the San Antonio Express-News from death row. “As long as one kid sees beyond all that crap because of my situation, that’s fine.”
Two of Parades’ companions are serving life prison terms. Greg Alvarado, 35, pleaded guilty. John Anthony Saenz, 32, a former HPL gang sergeant, claimed self-defense at his capital murder trial. He was convicted but jurors decided against the death penalty.
Evidence showed Nelly Bravo and Shawn Michael Cain, both 23, and Adrian Torres, 27, were shot to death inside Saenz’s house. Prosecutors said Torres, accompanied by Bravo and Cain, came to collect drug money owed to him.
Evidence showed Paredes, listed in prison records as 5-foot-6 and 254 pounds and known to fellow gang members as “Fat Boy,” seemed to be the most aggressive and most active shooter. Testimony showed Bravo was killed while begging for her life.
Court filings showed Paredes was involved in at least two other slayings, two drive-by shootings, disposed a dead overdose victim who was using drugs he supplied by burning her body and had numerous run-ins with authorities beginning at age 12. At 15, he had impregnated his 14-year-old girlfriend. The triple slaying occurred about six weeks after he had turned 18.
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