Ray Japser III, 33, was executed by lethal injection on 19 March 2014 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder and robbery of a 33-year-old man.
In 1998, Jasper was the leader of a rap group in San Antonio. He and his associates, Steve Russell and Doug Williams, frequently used a studio owned and operated by Christian music recording artist David Alejandro to make their recordings.
On 21 November 1998, Jasper purchased some large bags at a sporting goods store. He also made an appointment for a Sunday morning recording session at the studio.
On 23 November, an off-duty robbery detective with the San Antonio Police Department noticed Jasper and believed he might be serving as a lookout for a burglary of a residence. He approached Jasper and identified himself as a police officer. Japser then began attacking the officer. His fingerprints were later found on the exterior of a window in the backyard of the residence. He was charged with assaulting a public servant and released on a $10,000 bond the next day.
On 29 November, Japser, then 18, Russell, 19, and Williams, 19 arrived at the studio in two separate vans. They brought the bags with them, along with a black bedsheet. Jasper and Russell were also carrying concealed knives taken from Jasper's kitchen. After about two hours in the studio, Jasper walked up behind Alejandro, who was sitting at the soundboard mixing a track for him. He grabbed Alejandro by the hair and slit his throat from ear to ear. Alejandro clutched his throat and started gargling. He then picked up a two-by-four board and started trying to defend himself. Jasper took the board from Alejandro and hit him in the head with it, then called to his accomplices for help. He then held Alejandro while Russell stabbed him in the chest until he died. Jasper covered the victim with the bedsheet he had brought so as "not have to look at him." He then began loading vehicles with the equipment inside the studio, estimated to be worth between $10,000 and $30,000. Jasper and his accomplices made several trips taking the property from the studio. He was at the crime scene when an off-duty police officer approached him, and he fled on foot. He was apprehended by police three days later outside his home.
David Alejandro died from 25 stab wounds to his chest, back, and neck. A knife was left buried in the back of his neck.
Japser confessed that he had planned the crime and recruited his two accomplices.
At his trial, Jasper's girlfriend and his child's mother, Christina Breton, testified that Jasper had told her several days before the murder about his plans to steal Alejandro's equipment. He said he needed to kill Alejandro because he would be able to identify him.
Against his lawyer's advice, Jasper took the witness stand to testify at his trial. He said that he decided to rob and kill David Alejandro because he needed money to move out of his parents' house and into an apartment with Breton. He further testified that he had thoughts of pulling the court bailiff's gun.
The defense argued that Jasper could not be proven guilty of murder, as the evidence and testimony only confirmed that he inflicted the initial wound - the slicing of the victim's throat - and the medical examiner testified that wound was not the cause of death.
Under Texas law, a capital murder defendant can be found guilty for participating in a killing, regardless of whether he inflicted the fatal injury.
During the punishment phase of his trial, Jasper was given the chance to speak to the victim's family. "I didn't kill your son," he said. "He was one of the nicest guys I ever met, but I did not kill him." He again only admitted inflicting the first, non-fatal wound.
"That man was brutally murdered. He was stabbed 25 times. I'm not a killer, and I didn't do it."
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