Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Roy Pippin

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A jury convicted Pippin of capital murder in September 1995 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in May 1997. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.

Regarding Pippin's claims that the prosecution withheld ballistics evidence showing that two guns were used in the killings, the appeals courts ruled that the defense had a ballistics expert of its own who had full access to the same evidence that the prosecution had, and that the question of whether there was one murder weapon or two did not lessen Pippin's culpability.

Aaron Loweth, 39, one of the men who held the Buitragos captive in the motel room, was convicted of possession of a controlled substance and kidnapping and was sentenced to 4 years in prison. Information on Abraham Pacheco and the other two kidnappers, Flavio Salazar and Jorge Pulido, was not available for this report.

In an interview from death row days before his execution, Pippin admitted that he smuggled drug money through his air conditioning business, and he also admitted that he helped dispose of Javier Riasco's body, but he insisted that he was no killer. "I wasn't the boss," Pippin said. "I didn't orchestrate these murders. I didn't have the power to kill these men." At the same time, however, Pippin said that he was "under duress" from his bosses in the drug trade. "They said they were going to kill my family."

Even Pippin's own lawyer, Walter Cochran, seemed to disbelieve Pippin's claim of innocence. "He got dragged into this," Cochran said. "Basically, it was kill or be killed."

A few days before his execution, Pippin gave up his more than month-long hunger strike to protest what he called the deplorable conditions of Texas' death row. "This is absolute torture in this place," Pippin said. "If they kill me, it's going to be a blessing."

Pippin also warned that when the time for his execution came, he would not cooperate. "I'm going to fight, literally," he said.

On the morning before his execution, Pippin made a fire in his cell on death row in the Polunsky Unit at Livingston by using some trash and some copper wire stuck into an electrical outlet. Corrections officers extinguished the fire. Pippin was taken to a prison clinic and treated for smoke inhalation.

According to prison officials, Pippin was angry when he arrived at Huntsville for his execution, but a prison chaplain was credited with calming him down. His execution was delayed for about a half hour as the U.S. Supreme Court considered - and rejected - his final appeal. When officials were ready to move him from his holding cell into the execution chamber, Pippin said, "I promise you, my oath, I won't try to hurt any guards." He was then led in and tied down to the gurney without incident.

"I charge the people of the jury, trial judge, the prosecutor that cheated to get this conviction," Pippin said in his last statement. "I charge each and every one of you with the murder of an innocent man. You will answer to your maker when you find out you have executed an innocent man. May God have mercy on your souls."

"I ask forgiveness for all of the poison I helped bring into the U.S., the country I love," Pippin continued. He also expressed love to his family, then said, "That's it. Warden, go ahead and murder me." As the lethal injection was started, Pippin said, "Jesus, take me home." He was pronounced dead at 6:42 p.m.


By David Carson. Posted on 30 March 2007.
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Attorney General's office, Associated Press, Houston Chronicle, Huntsville Item, court documents.

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