A convict charged for the murder of five people including his wife, children and relatives in 2002 is set to be executed on Thursday evening, according to police. Abel Ochoa was high on crack cocaine and was looking for money when he shot dead his family in his Dallas home in August 2002, according to prosecutors.
He was sentenced to death for killing his wife Cecilia, 32, his two daughters, 9-month-old, Anahi and Crystal, 7, as well as his father-in-law, 56-year-old Bartolo Alvizo, and sister-in-law Jacqueline Saleh, 20. Ochoa also shot and seriously injured another sister-in-law, Alma Alvizo, according to reports.
Ochoa's execution judgement came despite his attorneys approaching the US Supreme Court on Wednesday to resolve a lawsuit over whether Ochoa's rights were violated when he wasn't allowed to film a prison interview with his legal team for a state clemency petition. The lower courts however ruled against Ochoa on the issue.
The Texas court of appeals also turned down another request for a stay on claims stating problems with paperwork related to Ochoa's death warrant, reported the Associated Press. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles also turned down a clemency petition.
Attorneys fighting against Ochoa's death sentence have said according to court documents, that his sentence should be commuted to a life sentence due to "his deep and sincere remorse".
His attorneys from the time of his trial have described Ochoa as a hard-working, law-abiding citizen and have argued that he shot his family in a cocaine-induced delirium and suffered from brain damage from drug abuse in his two and a half years of addiction to crack.
Ochoa's testified that he didn't remember when he shot his family after he smoked the drug in his background on the day of the incident. The convict who had spent $300 a week on cocaine and took loans to support his drug habits said that he tried treatment in a rehabilitation centre. Court records show that he had gone 10 days without the drug before the shooting took place.
In a police confession, Ochoa said he was desperate for drug and persuaded his wife to buy him on the day of the incident. "While I was lying on the bed my body started wanting more crack. I knew if I asked my wife for more money to buy some more crack she wouldn't let me have it," Ochoa was quoted as saying in his confession to police.
Ochoa told police he grabbed his 9mm handgun, walked into the living room and started shooting until he ran out of bullets. He was arrested at a shopping centre after he withdrew money from an ATM.
However, one of the Dallas County prosecutors who tried the case, Howard Blackmon said Ochoa killed his family in frustration and anger. "It's just a horrendous set of circumstances for a parent just to murder, gun down their own children," he told the news agency.
The surviving family member and sister of Ochoa's wife Alma Alvizo was also elemental in his death sentence. She testified that Ochoa had started becoming aggressive towards his wife after he found that she had a son from a previous relationship. She also stated that her sister told her that Ochoa had threatened her sister with a gun three weeks before the shooting.
Ochoa's execution would be the second inmate death in capital punishment in Texas this year and third in the US. According to reports, seven such executions are scheduled to take place in the upcoming months in Texas, also known as the state that has the country's highest capital punishment rates.