First of "Texas Seven" to be Executed Thursday

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Death row inmate Michael Rodriguez sees his execution scheduled for Thursday as an attempt to make up for some very bad decisions.

His first bad decision led to the murder of his wife. The second made him a key partner in one of Texas' most notorious prison breaks and ultimately cost the life of a suburban Dallas police officer. The gang of fugitives who became known as the "Texas 7" gunned down Irving Officer Aubrey Hawkins during a Christmas Eve 2000 sporting goods store robbery.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Rodriguez says that, "sadly, a lot of people got hurt." He says he thinks death is "a fair sentence." In his words, "I need to pay back. I can't pay back monetarily. This is the way."

Rodriguez would be the first inmate to be executed of the six surviving members of the seven who broke out of a South Texas prison in December 2000.

The gang was captured in Colorado after six weeks on the run. One, Larry Harper, killed himself rather than surrender to authorities.

Rodriguez would be the eighth prisoner executed in the nation's most active capital punishment state this year and the second this week.

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