HUNTSVILLE (April 16, 2014) Jose Villegas, 39, who was convicted of killing his estranged girlfriend, her 3-year-old son, and her mother 13 years ago in Corpus Christi, was executed Tuesday evening in Huntsville.
He was pronounced dead at 7:04 p.m., 11 minutes after he was injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital.
He was the seventh Texas inmate executed this year, and the third put to death with the new stock of pentobarbital from a provider that corrections officials won't identify.
Villegas' lawyers contended that testing in February showed the inmate had an IQ of 59, below the IQ of 70 that courts have embraced as a threshold for mental impairment, but the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the argument and voted 5-4 against halting the execution.
The ruling came at around 6 p.m. Wednesday, about 30 minutes after the six-hour window opened for Villegas' execution.
Villegas was sentenced to die for the January 2001 slayings of his ex-girlfriend Erida Salazar, 24, her 3-year-old son Jacob and her mother Alma Perez, 51.
Salazar was stabbed 32 times, her son 19 times and mother 35 times.
When arrested, he was driving Salazar's stolen car.
He and had pawned a television stolen from the Perez home for $75 and used the money to buy cocaine, authorities said.
Lioncio Perez found the bodies of his wife, daughter and grandson when he returned home at around 9:15 a.m. on Jan. 22, 2001, after he was excused from jury service.
He ran next door to call police.
A neighbor told officers she saw Villegas leaving the Perez home about a half hour before Perez found the bodies.
A short time later, officers spotted Villegas in Salazar’s vehicle and arrested him after a high-speed pursuit and a foot chase.
Perez confessed to the three murders, authorities said.
He told investigators he and Salazar had consumed about $200 worth of cocaine that morning before Salazar’s mother returned home from taking Salazar’s daughter to school, authorities said.
When Mrs. Perez ordered him to leave the house, he told investigators he stabbed her and then went to a bedroom where he killed Salazar and the boy.
He said after leaving the home, he pawned the TV he stole and used the money to buy cocaine, authorities said.
He told investigators he planned to return to the Perez home and overdose on the cocaine, but fled when he saw that police were there.
He had three bags of cocaine with him when he was arrested, authorities said.