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Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people

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Since the Supreme Court legalized capital punishment in 1976, Harris County, Texas, has executed 126 people. That's more executions than every individual state in the union, barring Texas itself.
Harris County's executions account for 23 percent of the 545 people Texas has executed. On the national level, the state alone is responsible for more than a third of the 1,465 people put to death in the United States since 1976.
In 2017, however, the county known as the "death penalty capital of the world" and the "buckle of the American death belt" executed and sentenced to death a remarkable number of people: zero.
This is the first time since 1985 that Harris County did not execute any of its death row inmates, and the third year in a row it did not sentence anyone to capital punishment either.
The remarkable statistic reflects a shift the nation is seeing as a whole.
“The practices that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is following are also signifi…

Texas: Gustavo Garcia set for execution

Gustavo Garcia in 1992
Gustavo Garcia in 1992
A Plano man is set to be executed Tuesday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his latest - and likely final - appeal.

In December 1990, then-19-year-old Gustavo Garcia shot and killed store clerk Craig Turski, according to police. He confessed to the crime after being arrested in connection to the murder of another store clerk the following month.

Police found Garcia hiding inside a store cooler after his friend, Christopher Vargas, 15, shot and killed Gregory Marin, 18. Garcia was charged in that case but never tried.

Garcia's attorneys have long contended that his written confession should have been thrown out because it did not include language that he had "knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily" waived his right to remain silent.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned his conviction in 1994, only to reinstate it during a follow-up hearing.

In 1998, Garcia joined 6 other inmates in a daring prison escape attempt. Garcia surrendered before making it off prison grounds.

Garcia was given a new sentencing hearing in 2000 after a chief psychologist with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice testified that being Hispanic made him a threat.

Garcia received another death sentence in 2001.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Garcia's latest appeal. It then refused to revisit that decision Wednesday.

Garcia will be the 3rd Texan executed this year, and the 1st one from Collin County since 2010. He will be just the 7th Collin County man executed since Texas resumed the death penalty in 1982, according to officials.

Source: starlocalmedia.com, Feb. 13, 2016

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