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A jury convicted Elliott in January 1987 of capital murder and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in April 1993. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
Pete Ramirez had a lengthy prior criminal history including driving while intoxicated, unlawfully carrying a weapon, and aggravated robbery. He received a 15-year sentence for sexual assault for his role in the Munguia case. He entered prison in January 1987 and was paroled in June 1990. He has kept a clean record since then and was discharged from parole in 2001.
Rick Cruz Elizondo's only prior offense was for public intoxication. He pleaded guilty to sexual assault and received a 10-year prison sentence. No information was available on his time served.
On death row, Elliott maintained his innocence. "I didn't kill Joyce Munguia and I didn't rape, her but somehow I knew I was going to get convicted," he said. "I didn't have the money and I didn't have the best lawyers." Elliott acknowledged that his criminal past made it easy for prosecutors to obtain a conviction. "I should have led a different life," he said.
In his appeals, Elliott's lawyers unsuccessfully sought to have DNA testing ordered on blood spatters found on Danny Hanson's shoes. Hanson had said that the blood was his own and that it was from a previous incident in which he was stabbed.
Elliott was born to American parents on a U.S. air base in Great Britain, so he held dual American-British citizenship. His parents returned to the U.S. with him when he was six months old. His execution was opposed by numerous British public officials and was loudly denounced in the British media. During his stay on death row, Elliott corresponded with European anti-death penalty activists. He accommodated British media's requests for interviews, but declined requests from the American media. For his last meal, he had a cup of tea and six chocolate chip cookies.
Elliott made three clemency requests -- one for a pardon, one for a commutation, and one for a reprieve. All were rejected by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on separate 18-0 votes. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court also denied Elliott's last-minute requests for a stay. These requests delayed his execution by nearly an hour.
Elliott did not make a final statement at his execution. He was pronounced dead at 7:02 p.m.
By David Carson. Posted on 6 February 2003.
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Attorney General's Office, Associated Press, Huntsville Item, London Times, British Broadcasting Corporation News.