UPDATE: John Allen Rubio and Angela Camacho
TEXAS MAN GETS DEATH PENALTY FOR BEHEADING THREE KIDS
by Christopher Sherman – The Associated Press
Prosecutors had sought a death sentence for John Allen Rubio, who killed three children under the age of four in a windowless Brownsville apartment in 2003.
The Hidalgo County jury deliberated for four hours before choosing the death sentence on Thursday.
Now, Rubio will be placed in the general population of a prison for the first time since the crimes. He spent several years isolated on death row after his original conviction and death sentence in 2003. A state appeals court overturned the conviction in 2007.
RUBIO GUILTY OF FOUR COUNTS OF CAPITAL MURDER
by Ildefonso Ortiz – The Brownsville Herald
“We the jury find the defendant John Allen Rubio guilty,” stated 370th state District Judge Noe Gonzalez as he read the note handed to him by the jury.
After four hours of deliberation, jurors on Monday afternoon found Rubio guilty of the 2003 capital murder of the three children of his common-law wife.
Rubio, standing in front of the judge’s bench, remained expressionless as Gonzalez read the verdict. Since the judge had vowed to throw out anyone who reacted to the verdict, the courtroom remained silent after verdict was read.
Rubio, 29, was being retried for the murders of Julissa Quesada, 3, John E. Rubio, 14 months, and Mary Jane Rubio, 2 months, because his earlier conviction in the case was overturned on appeal. The children’s mother Angela Camacho already has been convicted in the case. Rubio was the biological father of the youngest child.
Rubio was facing four capital murder charges, one for each of the slain children and one for the combined murders.
In his opening statement, Cameron County Chief Assistant District Attorney Chuck Mattingly told jurors that Rubio is a danger to society with a long criminal record. He said Rubio is violent and had tried to set fire in his prison cell.
Defense attorney Ed Stapleton told jurors that the alleged fires in Rubio’s cell were toilet paper fires that didn’t place anyone in danger and were simply a form of protest.
Jurors also heard testimony from two police officers, Rolando Trujillo and Juan Sanchez, who stated that they had previously arrested Rubio for possession of marijuana and for family violence.
Defense attorney Nat Perez asked them if Rubio had been violent in any of the arrests. Both officers testified that he had not and that the arrests were misdemeanors.
Further questioning by Perez revealed that the family violence arrest had been because Camacho had told an officer that she feared for her safety. She said Rubio was intoxicated but that he had never hurt her or any of the children.
Jurors also heard testimony from Texas Ranger Roland Castaneda, who stated that he went to Rubio’s cell in 2003 to gather blood and hair samples. He said he saw Rubio act without remorse in regards to the murders.
On Monday morning, before each side began its closing arguments for the guilt or innocence phase, Gonzalez addressed the jury, stating that the arguments could be considered during the deliberations. But, he said, during their deliberation, jurors must adhere to the guidelines set up in the law or charge that would be presented.
Gonzalez then read the charge, which outlined three possible findings for the jury: guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity. The charge stated that murder referred to the intentional or knowing taking of a life, while capital murder applied to the murder of children under the age of 6 or more than one murder in an act.
If the jury found that the defendant suffered a severe mental disease or defect that kept him from knowing his actions were wrong, then they must declare Rubio not guilty by reason of insanity.
After Gonzalez finished reading the charge, Mattingly began his closing argument.
“The defendant John Allen Rubio, butchered his children,” Mattingly said. “He butchered three babies.”
Mattingly stated that Rubio couldn’t be insane because certain statements that he made showed him to be sane, including the one where he places his hands in front of officer Sonny Cervantes and tells him, “arrest me” as Cervantes arrives at the scene, showing his knowledge then that the action was wrong.
“These babies, they were fighters,” Mattingly said as he choked back tears. “They fought valiantly and heroically to live until their bodies could take no more.”
Mattingly then stated that to Rubio, the children were just an obstacle to starting a new life and were thus treated as trash being placed in disposable bags.
If Rubio had indeed been insane and killing demons as per paranoid schizophrenia, then he would have attacked his younger brother who stumbled into the scene and, according to Rubio, was acting possessed, Mattingly said.
“He is a coward,” Mattingly added.
After Mattingly, Perez addressed the jury and began attacking some of the inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case.
According to Perez, if Rubio simply wanted to get rid of the children, he could have placed a hand over their face or used a pillow to snuff out their life, not choke them, stab them and then behead them.
“Bodies don’t lie,” Perez said. “This was overkill.”
Perez then stated that if the main reason was financial problems, then why kill the children if they were a “gold mine” because of all the government aid they were receiving.
Perez then went on to attack the police statements, alleging that even though the prosecution claimed to have read Rubio his rights more than eight times, he didn’t understand them.
According to Perez, the only times Rubio had questions about the rights read to him was when there was an impartial witness such as a magistrate judge or a video camera.
“You saw the officers fight me on the stand about specifically asking Rubio if he wanted a lawyer,” Perez said.
He then referred to a statement by police about Rubio acting different in front of the camera.
“Let me tell you, I know police acted different when the camera was on, too,” Perez said.
After Perez, Ed Stapleton gave the jurors a perspective of life from Rubio’s eyes, from being an abused and neglected child to growing up with sexual abuse and prostitution. He said Rubio then had to tried to have a normal life but was unable to because of mental issues and diseases.
Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos closed the arguments by stating that the 5-year-old Rubio that Stapleton had been talking about was not the monster sitting in the courtroom that butchered three children.
According to Villalobos, if Rubio suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, then why would he go years without suffering from delusions — even without taking any schizophrenia medications?
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