Texas executes Ex-Gang Member For Deaths of 3

HUNTSVILLE (AP) — A former gang member was put to death Tuesday evening for the fatal shootings of three rivals 14 years ago in San Antonio.

Miguel Paredes, 32, was convicted along with two other men in the September 2000 slayings of three people with ties to the Mexican Mafia. The victims’ bodies were rolled up in a carpet, driven about 50 miles southwest, dumped and set on fire. A farmer investigating a grass fire found the remains.

Parades was pronounced dead at 6:54 p.m. CDT. The execution was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court turned down a last-day appeal from attorneys who contended Paredes was mentally impaired and his previous lawyers were deficient for not investigating his mental history.

His execution was the 10th this year in Texas, the nation’s most active death-penalty state. One other Texas inmate is set to die in December and at least nine are scheduled for execution in early 2015, including four in January.

Paredes’ attorney, David Dow, said the execution should have been stopped because Paredes had “a significant mental disease” that may have affected his judgment when he told his previous lawyer 10 years ago not to investigate his family background.

In a response filed Tuesday morning, state lawyers said Paredes “presented no evidence that he is or ever has been mentally ill or incompetent,” and that his earlier attorney couldn’t be considered deficient when he “abided by Paredes’ explicit instructions.” Lower courts sided with the state, which also noted that the latest appeal was filed after a deadline.

Prosecutors said Paredes, who turned 18 six weeks before the slayings, was the most aggressive shooter when the three victims showed up to collect drug money.

They told jurors at his capital murder trial in 2001 that Paredes was suspected in several other crimes, including other killings and drive-by shootings. Defense attorneys argued that he grew up in a gang-infested neighborhood, and the only way to survive was to join a gang.

Paredes was convicted of fatally shooting Nelly Bravo and Shawn Michael Cain, both 23, and Adrian Torres, 27. Prosecutors said the three were shot when they tried to collect drug money at the home of John Anthony Saenz, a leader in Paredes’ gang.

“Evidence showed Miguel seemed to be the most aggressive and an active shooter,” said Mary Green, the Bexar County district attorney who prosecuted Paredes.

Police got a break in the case when paperwork carrying Saenz’s name was found in the debris with the three burning bodies.

Saenz, 32, claimed self-defense at his trial and avoided the death penalty when jurors sentenced him to life. The third suspect, Greg Alvarado, 35, pleaded guilty and also is serving life in prison.

(COPYRIGHT 2014, ASSOCIATED PRESS, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

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