02 February 2023 :
01/02/2023 - Wesley Ruiz, 43, Hispanic, was executed on February 1 at the state penitentiary in Huntsville
He had been sentenced to death in 2008 for the March 23, 2007 killing of a police officer, Mark Nix, 33.
“I would like to apologize to Mark and the Nix family for taking him away from you,” Ruiz said as he was laying strapped to a gurney in the death chamber. “I hope this brings you closure.” “Don’t worry about me. I’m ready to fly,” he said. “All right warden, I’m ready to ride.”
As the lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital began taking effect, he took 2 quick breaths, then began snoring. His 11th snore was his last and there was no further movement. 22 minutes later, at 6:41 p.m., he was pronounced dead.
Nearly 16 years ago Ruiz led officers on a high-speed chase after being spotted driving a car that matched the description of one used by a murder suspect. Authorities said Ruiz fired 1 shot at Nix when the officer tried to break the vehicle’s passenger window after the chase. The bullet hit Nix’s badge, splintered it and sent fragments into his neck, severing an artery. He later died at a hospital.
Ruiz was one of five Texas death row inmates who sued to stop the state’s prison system from using what they allege are expired and unsafe execution drugs. Despite a civil court judge in Austin preliminarily agreeing with the claims, the state’s top two courts allowed one of the inmates who had been part of the litigation to be executed on Jan. 10.
Prison officials deny the lawsuit’s claims and say the state’s supply of execution drugs is safe.
At his trial, Ruiz testified he was afraid for his life when he fired in self-defense on Nix after the officer allegedly threatened to kill him. He also said he believed police fired their weapons first.
“I didn’t try to kill the officer. I just tried to stop him,” Ruiz testified.
the 4th in the U.S. 7 other executions are scheduled in Texas for later this year, including one next week.
Ruiz becomes the 2nd inmate to be put death this year in Texas, the 580th overall since Texas resumed capital punishment in 1982, the 4th in the U.S. this year, and the 1,562nd overall since the nation resumed executions in 1977