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A jury convicted Perez of capital murder in May 1999 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in September 2001. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
Before being tried for the Travieso and Rivas murders, Perez was a co-defendant in a federal trial for the West French Place murders. He was convicted of racketeering and conspiracy and was sentenced to life in federal prison - a sentence he never served, since he received the death penalty in his state trial.
David Bires, Perez's lawyer, told reporters he thought Perez should have testified at his trial. "I felt like he had a fairly decent self-defense claim," Bires said. "There had been essentially another group of people that was plotting to assassinate him, and the two groups came into contact, and it resulted in a shooting. There was evidence shots were fired from both sides."
Jeff Mulliner, who was an assistant Bexar County district attorney during Perez's trial, said that Perez had "an abundance of charisma, a keen intellect, a sharp wit, and a sense of humor."
"I kind of appreciated all those things about him," Mulliner said. "Other than French Place, which is a footnote, I believe part of the honor of Robert Perez is he was not dangerous to an elderly lady trying to cross the street or to a young man on the bus to work. I think the only people in danger from Robert Perez were people he was associated with that didn't follow the rules."
Perez declined to be interviewed by reporters while he was on death row.
Perez's brother, wife, and two sons attended the execution. As he entered the execution chamber, his wife, Mary, said, "God bless you. You're still my hero. You'll always be my hero." Perez greeted all of his visitors by name and expressed love and encouragement to them. "Take care of them," he said to Mary. "I love you too." Perez then told the warden that he was ready to receive the lethal injection. "I got my boots on, like a cowboy." He was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m.
By David Carson. Posted on 7 March 2007.
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Attorney General's office, Associated Press, San Antonio Express-News.