Texas executes man for 1993 triple murder in San Antonio home

By Jon Herskovitz
Texas executes man for 1993 triple murder in San Antonio home

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas on Wednesday executed a 41-year-old man convicted of stabbing three people to death with a screwdriver, including his great-uncle and great-aunt, in a San Antonio home robbery in 1993, a prison officials said.

Arnold Prieto died at 6:31 p.m. CST at the state's prison death chamber in Huntsville after receiving a lethal injection, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.

He was the 519th person executed in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

"There are no endings, only beginnings. Love y’all, see you soon," he said in his last word, according to the department.

Prieto and two other men went to the home of Rodolfo Rodriguez, 72, and his wife, Virginia, 62, who cooked the visitors breakfast. Prieto and Jesse Hernandez then used screwdrivers to attack the couple, also killing Paula Moran, 92, who was in the house, the Texas Attorney General's Office said.

The three assailants, who had binged on cocaine, ransacked the house, stealing cash and goods valued at a few hundred dollars, it said.

Hernandez was under 18 years of age at the time of the crime and could not be sentenced to death because he was a minor. He is currently serving a life sentence.

The other person with the assailants, Lupe Hernandez, brother of Jesse, was not charged.

As of Wednesday morning, no appeals seeking a halt of Prieto's execution had been filed, according to local prosecutors and a search of court records.

"It really was a completely senseless crime," said Rico Valdez, a prosecutor in Bexar County, where the murders took place. "They could have obtained the property without resorting to this type of violence.

"It was so intimate. This was actually going up and stabbing people multiple times ... elderly people who were literally defenseless," Valdez said.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Additional reporting by Jim Forsyth in San Antonio; Editing by Bill Trott and Sandra Maler)