Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Johnny Martinez

Johnny Martinez
Johnny Martinez
Executed on 22 May 2002

Johnny Joe Martinez, 29, was executed by lethal injection on 22 May in Huntsville, Texas for the robbery and murder of a convenience store clerk.

In July 1993, Johnny Martinez, then 20, entered a convenience store in Corpus Christi. He used the store's restroom, shoplifted several items, and observed that the clerk was the only other person in the store. He went back out to his car, which was driven by Paul Wortman, 23, and waited. After about 20 minutes, Martinez went back in to the store, put a pocket knife to the throat of the 20-year-old clerk, Clay Peterson, and demanded money. After Peterson gave Martinez the contents of the store's cash register -- $25.65 -- Martinez stabbed him eight times in the neck, back, and shoulders. Wortman, watching what was happening inside the store from his car, drove away. Martinez fled on foot. Peterson, still conscious, called 911. He died soon afterward. Martinez fled to a nearby motel. He then called police and admitted to the crime. He waited there for police to arrive, and was arrested.

The killing was caught on video tape by a store camera.

Martinez said that he knew he had wounded Peterson, but did not know the wounds were fatal. He said that he called 911 to request an ambulance for Peterson and, as he was being arrested, asked police whether the victim was going to be alright.

A jury convicted Martinez -- who had no prior criminal history and no record of violence -- of capital murder in January 1994 and sentenced him to death.

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