Texas Hit Man Gets Second Stay of Execution | NBC New York
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Texas Hit Man Gets Second Stay of Execution

Attorneys contend Rolando Ruiz's trial and original appeals lawyers failed to investigate and present mitigating evidence



    NBC 5 News
    Rolando Ruiz, inset.

    A convicted hit man scheduled to be put to death Wednesday for a murder-for-hire plot that left a woman dead more than 23 years ago has received a reprieve from a state appeals court — the second he has received within a week of an execution date. 

    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals voted 5-2 to issue a stay of execution Friday in the case of Rolando Ruiz. Presiding Judge Sharon Keller and Judge Michael Keasler dissented without comment. Judges Barbara Hervey and Kevin Yeary did not participate in the ruling. 

    What Are Soundwave Tattoos?

    [NATL] What Are Soundwave Tattoos?

    What if tattoos could talk? That's what Nate Siggard, CEO and founder of Skin Motion, is trying to do with his soundwave tattoo app. It works like this: users can upload sounds and voices to the app, creating a waveform of the audio. They can print out these waveforms and have them turned into tattoos. They can point their mobile phone or tablet device at the tattoo and use the app to play back the sound.

    (Published 5 hours ago)

    Ruiz, 44, had gotten within an hour of a lethal injection in 2007 when a federal appeals court intervened. 

    Evidence showed Ruiz collected $2,000 to kill Theresa Rodriguez of San Antonio in 1992 at the request of her husband, Michael, and a brother-in-law in a life insurance scheme. Michael Rodriguez also wound up on death row as one of the notorious Texas Seven gang of escaped inmates. He was executed in 2008. 

    Attorneys for Ruiz contend his trial and original appeals lawyers failed to investigate and present mitigating evidence on his punishment. His attorneys also contend that execution more than two decades after his conviction constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. 

    Reprieves from the state and federal appeals courts are sometimes granted for death row inmates. The Court of Criminal Appeals, the state's top criminal appeals court, has issued three stays this month. Fifteen inmates have been put to death nationally this year, six of them in Texas. The most recent execution in Texas was on April 6, when Pablo Vasquez received a lethal injection.