Wesley Ruiz, a 43-year-old Hispanic-American on death row, pronounced dead at 6:41 p.m. local time at the Huntsville, Texas City Penitentiary.
Ruiz received the lethal injection almost 16 years after committing the crime for which he was sentenced to death. In 2007, in Dallas, Texas, Ruiz was chased by police, who suspected that his vehicle was involved in a homicide.
Police officer Mark Nix, at the end of the chase, was trying to break his car window with his baton. Ruiz shot him and the bullet ended up killing him.
During his trial, Wesley Ruiz stated that during the police pursuit he feared for his life and that he shot in an act of “self-defense”, according to the local press. However, his trial was plagued by “openly racist” statements and “clearly hostile stereotypes against Hispanics”, for which he was ultimately found guilty and sentenced to death.
According to court documents, one of the jurors had described him as an “animal”, “a mad dog” and considered that the Hispanics present at the trial were “gang members”.
This was the allegation that his lawyers used to file an appeal as the date of the execution approached, but it was already too late for Ruiz. His appeal was dismissed in the first instance and then sent to the Supreme Court, which did not rule at the last minute to stay the execution.
“I’m ready to go,” he said before being injected, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice detailed in a statement.
“I want to apologize to Mark and the Nix family (…) I want to say to my family and friends around the world, thank you for supporting me. To my children, stand your ground and continue to make me proud, don’t worry about me, I’m going to be fine,” the defendant said in his last statement.
Before his death, Ruiz was part of a lawsuit brought by several death row inmates in Texas, who accuse the state correctional services of extending the expiration dates of the deadly substances used for executions, one of them known as pentobarbital, that would extend the illegal suffering of those injected. (YO)
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