Man Convicted of Screwdriver Murder Scheduled for Execution

Courtesy of TDCJ

On Oct. 30, 20-year death row inmate Ruben Gutierrez will be executed in Huntsville for his decades-old crime.

In Brownsville on Sept. 5, 1998, Gutierrez accompanied by his co-defendants, Rene Garcia and Pedro Garza, entered the mobile home of 85-year-old Escolastica Harrison, brutally murdered her and took around $600,000 that she had hidden in a suitcase in her trailer home.

When Gutierrez was questioned about the slaying, he claimed that he was present at the scene of the crime but was not the killer. During the interrogation, his alibi would falter multiple times in details.

Evidence showed that Gutierrez and his accomplices entered Harrison’s residence and struck her once on the head with the intent of simply knocking her out.

When Harrison demonstrated signs of struggle, Gutierrez and his accomplices beat her and stabbed her thirteen times in the head with two screwdrivers. After the stabbing, Harrison was left in a pool of her own blood.

Gutierrez was first scheduled to die on May 14, 1999, but his execution was stayed due to issues of evidence.

After serving a 20-year prison sentence, Gutierrez was scheduled for execution on Sept. 12, 2018 for the crime.

On Aug. 22, 2018, Senior U.S. District Judge, Hilda Tagle, granted a stay of execution on the basis that Gutierrez’s newly appointed lawyers needed more time to learn his extensive case record to explore possible appeals.

During this time, Gutierrez’s then-attorney, Margaret Schmucker, filed to be removed from the case because she did not have the relevant experience for an appeal that would require a DNA sample.

Given that there are no new developments or appeals in his case, Gutierrez is set to be executed by lethal injection on Oct. 30.

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