John Richard Baltazar, 30, was executed by lethal injection on 15 January 2003 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a 5-year-old girl in her home.
On 27 September 1997, Baltazar, then 25, and Johnny Gonzales went to the home of Arturo and Matilda Marines. Baltazar went to the house because Matilda's brother, Narciso "Ted" Cuellar, lived there, and Cuellar had allegedly beaten Baltazar's mother earlier that day. Baltazar kicked down the door and fired multiple gunshots at the couch where Cuellar usually slept. Cuellar, however was not home. Instead, the shots struck the Marines' 5-year-old daughter, Adriana, and her 11-year-old cousin, Vanessa, who were on the couch, watching "Sleeping Beauty" on television. Vanessa was struck once in the chest and survived. Adriana was killed by two shots to her head.
Arturo Marines, hearing the noise, jumped from his bed, where he and Matilda where watching television. Baltazar shot him, hitting him in the jaw.
Baltazar had two priors convictions for burglary. He served 6 months of a 5-year sentence in 1992-93, and 3 years of an 8-year sentence from 1994-97. He had been out of prison for 9 weeks before killing Adriana Marines. Baltazar also had 10 prior misdemeanor convictions.
A jury convicted Baltazar of capital murder in March 1998 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in September 1999. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
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