Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Rodolfo Hernandez

Rodolfo Hernandez
Rodolfo Hernandez
Executed on 30 April 2002

Rodolfo Baiza Hernandez, 52, was executed by lethal injection on 21 March in Huntsville, Texas for murder and robbery.

In March 1985, five men came illegally into the United States from Mexico in a railroad box car. When they arrived in San Antonio, Texas, they met Rodolfo Hernandez, then 35, who agreed to transport them to Denton for $150 each. Hernandez took them to his house, where he picked up his brother, Richard, and his brother-in-law, Jesse Garibay, 19. The eight men drove a short distance, dropped Richard Hernandez off at his place of employment, and continued north.

When they reached a secluded area near New Braunfels, Garibay and Hernandez stopped the car, pretending they were having car trouble. They then opened the trunk and took out several firearms. Hernandez ordered the men out of the car and told them to lie on the ground, face down. When one of the victims tried to run away, Hernandez shot him in the back. Hernandez and Garibay shot each man multiple times with .22-caliber and .25-caliber weapons, took their valuables, and fled. Victor Cervan, 20, suffered four wounds and was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital. The other four victims survived.

Hernandez was arrested six days later near Poteet, another town near San Antonio. Garibay was arrested twelve days after the murders in Longview, which is hundreds of miles away, near the Louisiana state line.

The four surviving victims identified Hernandez and Garibay as the men who shot and robbed them. Two of them testified against Hernandez at his trial. Jesse Garibay's wife, Susan, testified that on the day of the shootings, her husband came home appearing scared. Her brother, Rodolfo, watched television while handling a gun. When a news report came on about the shootings, Hernandez told Susan that President Reagan had told him to "get rid of some illegal aliens," because Texas was overpopulated. A neighbor, Anthony Urbano, testified that while Hernandez and Garibay were at his house a few days later, a news report about the shootings came on television and Hernandez bragged to him about shooting the men and killing one of them. Urbano later pawned two guns at Hernandez' request. These guns were identified as the ones used in the shootings.

Rodolfo Hernandez had a previous conviction for aggravated robbery. He began serving a 15-year sentence (or 12 years, according to some records) in 1975, then was paroled in 1979. In 1983, he was returned to prison for illegally possessing handguns and thereby violating parole. He was discharged again 13 months later. The murder of Victor Cervan took place about 8 months after his second release from prison. Hernandez also had an earlier conviction for unauthorized use of a vehicle (i.e. joy riding) in 1971, for which he received 2 years' probation.

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