On January 21st, Texas will carry out it's first execution of 2015 when 35-year old Arnold Prieto is put to death. Barring a last minute stay Prieto will receive a lethal injection a few minutes before 6pm on Wednesday.
On September 11th 1993, Arnold Prieto was approached by two brothers he knew, Lupe and Jesse Hernandez. In the past, Jesse had told stories of his loan shark uncle, Rodolfo Rodriguez, who apparently had a closet stuffed full of money. The brothers had regularly supplied Arnold Prieto with cocaine, and the night of the murder was no different. According to Prieto, Jesse Hernandez pressured him into going with the brothers to their uncle's house to steal his money. Prieto insists he cannot remember much of what was discussed during the car journey to the Rodriguez home because all three men were taking cocaine. He does remember one of the brothers instructing him to remove his socks and put them on his hands so he wouldn't leave fingerprints during the murder.
When the men arrived at the destination in the early morning hours, the door was opened by Rodolfo Rodriguez's wife and the brothers' aunt, Virginia Rodriguez. Pleased to see her nephews, Virginia made all three men breakfast. According to Prieto's testimony, Jesse called him into the bedroom where Rodolfo Rodriguez was, as Prieto entered the room he heard a scream, turned and saw Lupe Hernandez violently stabbing his aunt. Rodolfo Rodriguez attempted to go and help his wife, but Prieto, using a screwdriver given to him by Jesse, pushed him back down and began stabbing the man. He finished the job by ramming the screwdriver into Rodolfo's head. According to Prieto, he left the bedroom in a state of shock, he saw the body of Virginia Rodriguez on the kitchen floor but was allegedly shocked to see the body of another woman in the lounge area. The other woman was the Rodriguez's friend and former nanny, 92-year old Paula Moran. Prieto continues by saying Jesse Hernandez then emptied the contents of a closet, Lupe Hernandez stole a purse from the bedroom before shouting "Lets Go".
Once safely away from the crime scene, Prieto says the Hernandez brothers split the stolen goods. Prieto received a man's gold ring, a child's crucifix and a couple of necklaces. Each man also had around $100 in cash. According to Prieto, a few days after the murders he confessed to his wife, saying he had "killed someone and so did Lupe and Jesse".
Once the jury had convicted Prieto of capital murder, the same jury then entered the punishment phase. During this time, the jury were made aware of Prieto's previous criminal record, which included stealing $676,000 worth of laptops from his employer. The jury also heard that during his incarceration awaiting trial Prieto persistently disobeyed orders, was caught several times with contraband and was constantly yelling and annoying other inmates. Prieto was sentenced to death on March 30th, 1995.
There is no questioning Arnold Prieto's guilt, he has confessed to murdering one person during the course of a robbery and being present when two others were also killed. However, he appears to have shown little remorse, instead he appears to make the Hernandez brothers solely responsible that night. He is insistent the brothers pressured him to do it, that he was numb with shock the whole time. However, the crime scene was bloody, especially in the bedroom where Prieto killed Rodolfo Rodriguez. It was no conducive with someone who had struggled to carry out a murder on someone else's instructions.
I believe Arnold Prieto fully deserves the death sentence, what do you think?
|Texas Death Chamber|