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A jury convicted Fuentes of capital murder in November 1996 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in April 1999. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
Steven Anthony Vela and Kelvin Deshan Templeton were both convicted of aggravated robbery. Vela was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Information on his current status was unavailable for this report. Templeton's sentence was 15 years. He was paroled in April 2004. No information was available regarding Terrell Lincoln, the fourth member of the group.
On a web site devoted to his cause, Fuentes admitted being part of the convenience store robbery, but insisted that he was not the gunman who killed Robert Tate. In an interview on death row, Fuentes would not even admit to being at the scene of the crime. "I can't be sorry for something I didn't do," he said. "I never killed anybody."
Fuentes' lawyers claimed that the witnesses gave conflicting testimonies and that Julio Flores' testimony was questionable because he had been drinking. Prosecutors said that all of these issues were raised at trial. "That is the purpose of cross-examination, and that is what a jury is for," an assistant district attorney said.
"Sorry that I have to put my family through this," Fuentes said in his last statement. "And to the family, the truth will come out, and I hope you find your peace. To everybody else, the truth will be known. It didn't come out in time to save my life. But when it comes out, I hope it stops this." The lethal injection was then administered. Fuentes was pronounced dead at 6:11 p.m.
By David Carson. Posted on 18 November 2004.
Sources: Texas Attorney General's office, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Associated Press, Houston Chronicle, Huntsville Item.