Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Gilberto Reyes

Gilberto Reyes
Gilberto Reyes
Executed on 21 June 2007

Gilberto Guadalupe Reyes, 33, was executed by lethal injection on 21 June 2007 in Huntsville, Texas for the abduction, rape, robbery, and murder of his ex-girlfriend.

Yvette Barraz and Gilbert Reyes dated for about eight months before their relationship ended in January 1998. On 9 February, Reyes chased Barraz, her ten-year-old sister, and her infant daughter with a rifle. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, driving while intoxicated, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. He was released after posting bail. He then continued to harass and stalk Barraz.

On 26 February, Barraz went to the Muleshoe Police Department and gave a written statement. She stated that on 13 February, Reyes stole her jacket. On 22 February, her house was broken into. No valuables were taken, but her bed and most of the blinds and screens on the windows were "messed up." Also, "they had gone through my underwear drawer." The next day, Reyes kept following her in his car wherever she went and flashed his headlights at her. "Then I came to the police department and spoke with Officer Benny Parker," the statement read. "Gilbert Reyes keeps driving by my residence and any place that I happen to be at. This has been going on for several weeks. I am afraid of Gilbert Reyes."

At about 6:00 p.m. on 11 March 1998, Barraz, 19, left her parents' house for her job as a waitress at Leal's Restaurant. At the end of her shift, she walked out to her car. Her front apron pocket was full of coins and small bills from the tips she received that night. Wielding a knife, Reyes, then 24, abducted her from the parking lot and put her in her car - a gray Mitsubishi. He then drove to a remote area behind a business. There, he raped Barraz, strangled her, and hit her in the head six times with a claw hammer. He then drove - with the victim's body in the car - about 400 miles south to Presidio, on the Mexican border. He left the car behind a building and proceeded to cross the border on foot.

At the time, officers at the border crossing were looking for people who were involved in a series of recent burglaries in the Presidio area. Sometime between 3:30 and 4:00 a.m., Reyes was stopped and asked to empty his pockets. He had in his possession two sets of keys, a large amount of currency including one and five dollar bills, and some handfuls of change. Reyes told the officers that one of the sets of keys was to his girlfriend's car. Once a records check was completed and officers determined that he was not involved in the Presidio burglaries, he was permitted to cross the bridge into Mexico.

The next morning, when Barraz failed to return home from work, her parents called the police. Police officers went to the restaurant, where they discovered blood on the ground, with some loose change nearby. They then began looking for Reyes.

On 13 March, the Presidio County Sheriff's Office received a bulletin that Reyes was connected to a missing person and may have driven a gray Mitsubishi to Presidio. Barraz's car was then found about a half a mile from the border. Her body was in the hatchback area, underneath some clothing. Her pants and underwear were pulled down to her knees. She had multiple head wounds and a laceration on one of her fingers. There was a knife on the floorboard of the back seat and a claw hammer on the passenger side between the seat and the door. There was blood in the passenger seat area and pools of blood in the back seat and in the hatchback.

Reyes was arrested in Portales, New Mexico on 7 June. The keys to Barraz's residence and car were in his possession.

Reyes' cousin's husband, Natividad Ovalle Jr., testified at his trial that at around 11:45 p.m. on 11 March, Reyes arrived at his home and asked him how to get to Ojinaga, Mexico. Ovalle testified that Reyes was driving a "small gray car."

A forensic expert for the Texas Department of Public Safety testified that the victim's DNA matched the blood in the restaurant parking lot, in the vehicle, and on the claw hammer. He also testified that Reyes' DNA matched a semen stain on the victim's underwear.

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