Dark Light

Joseph Garcia Is Scheduled to Be Executed on Tuesday, Even Though There’s No Proof He Killed the Victim

This Tuesday, 47-year-old Joseph Garcia is scheduled to be executed in Huntsville, Texas. Back in 2000, Garcia was a member of the infamous Texas Seven —- a group who escaped a maximum security prison in San Antonio and robbed several places for supplies. During one of those robberies, Police Officer Aubrey Hawkins was shot and killed. The men were apprehended a month later. While there is no evidence that Garcia fired a weapon (and may not have even been in the vicinity), Garcia was convicted under Texas’ controversial “law of parties,” in which co-conspirators can be tried as responsible along with the actual triggermen. A last minute bid for clemency was denied on Friday.

But Garcia’s story is much longer and sadder than the bare facts would lead you to believe and very few people — least of all the juries who convicted him – have heard all the details. The many tragedies and injustices that landed him in jail in the first place were detailed by Sister Helen Prejean, the famed nun and anti-capital punishment activist whose life was movingly portrayed by Susan Sarandon in Dead Man Walking.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Sister Helen lays out the awful cycles of abuse, neglect and incompetence that have haunted Garcia’s life since he was a child. Raised in an abusive family by a young woman who battled a crippling addiction, Garcia’s early life was fraught with trauma and instances of assault.

In February of 1996, Garcia killed an intoxicated man in self-defense after being attacked and threatened by him numerous times. The state appointed attorney admitted that he didn’t pay much attention to the case (he only met with Garcia twice before the trial, for less than five minutes both times).

Garcia was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Then in 2000, the attempted jailbreak happened, and when Garcia and the others were re-apprehended, they were collectively tried for the death of Officer Hawkins — a crime for which Garcia has maintained his innocence. Garcia’s trial was once again plagued by the incompetence and indifference of the justice system, which badly botched his case. Among other indignities, it was recently revealed that the judge who sentenced Garcia harbored bitterly racist views.

A much longer summary of Garcia’s sad life can be sister in Sister Helen’s thread. Since the legal system seems unwilling or uninterested in hearing the full story of the man they are about to execute, the least the rest of us can do is hear it for ourselves.

© 2022 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top