Texas Executes Gang Member For Ambush Deaths Of 4 Women

Robert Rene Garza (Texas prison photo)

HUNTSVILLE (September 19, 2013)-Texas death row inmate Robert Rene Garza, 30, was executed Thursday evening in Huntsville for a shooting in 2002 that left four women dead.

He was also linked to a shooting in 2003 in Edinburg in which six people died.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Garza’s 11th-hour appeal Thursday evening as he waited in a a cell a few steps from the Texas death chamber.

Garza was sentenced to die for his role in the ambush on Sept. 4, 2002 that left the four women dead and two others injured.

The six women, who worked at Garcia's Bar in Donna, shared a mobile home and rode home together, not realizing that another car was following them, authorities said.

Gunfire erupted as they arrived home.

Witnesses said they saw two men dressed in black fire repeatedly into the vehicle, authorities said, and investigators later recovered 61 shell casings at the scene.

Maria De La Luz Bazaldua Cobbarubias, Dantizene Lizeth Vasquez Beltran, Lourdes Yesenia Araujo Torres and Celina Linares Sanchez died in the shooting.

Investigators later determined that the intended target was another woman who worked at the bar who had stayed behind to close up.

Authorities said a hit was ordered on her because she had witnessed an earlier shooting at the bar and had testified against a gang leader.

Garza was arrested and questioned in late January 2003 about his involvement in the January 4, 2003 gang-related murders of six people in nearby Edinburg.

He confessed to his role and later in a written statement said he helped prepare for the murders in Donna and followed the two gunmen to the mobile home, but did not admit to firing at the women, authorities said.

Garza later argued that the statement he made to Hidalgo County authorities implicating himself in the shooting in Donna was coerced.

He was the 12th inmate to be executed so far this year in Texas.
Four more executions are scheduled this year, one next Thursday.

The state's remaining supply of pentobarbital, the drug used to execute inmates, expires this month, but officials say Texas will continue to use the same drug.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said in a statement to The Associated Press that the department has no immediate plans to switch from pentobarbital, although the drug's manufacturers have refused to sell it to state prison agencies for death penalty use.

Clark wouldn't elaborate on how Texas will obtain the drug.