Reinaldo Dennes was sentenced to death by the State of Texas for a murder following a robbery. According to court documents Reinaldo Dennes had just pulled off an elaborate jewel heist where he obtained over four million dollars and was leaving the building when he would shoot and kill a security guard who blocked his path. Reinaldo Dennes would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death.
Reinaldo Dennes 2022 Information
SID Number: 05608248
TDCJ Number: 00999248
Maximum Sentence Date: DEATH ROW
Current Facility: POLUNSKY
Projected Release Date: DEATH ROW
Parole Eligibility Date: DEATH ROW
Inmate Visitation Eligible: YES
Reinaldo Dennes More News
In December of 1995, Antonio Ramirez came from Ecuador to work in Texas. Shortly after his arrival, Ramirez met a man named Francisco Rojas who sold jewelry for [Dennes].1 Some time later, Ramirez gave several rings to Rojas that he wanted to sell. Rojas then took Ramirez and the rings to [Dennes] at [Dennes]’s office in the Greenrich Building on Richmond Avenue. During this visit, Ramirez noticed a lathe in [Dennes]’s jewelry workshop and began to play with it. [Dennes] asked Ramirez if he knew how to operate the machine and Ramirez said that he did. [Dennis] then hired Ramirez to make watch bezels for him.
2 Shortly thereafter [Reinaldo Dennes] invited Ramirez to travel to Mexico with him to buy a diamond. After the diamond purchase, the pair returned to Texas and [Dennes] gave Ramirez more work. In early January 1996, [Dennes] made a sketch for Ramirez and asked him if he could make the object depicted. By the time he completed the job, Ramirez had manufactured what turned out to be a silencer for [Dennes]. After the silencer was completed, [Dennes], his brother Alberto, and Ramirez went to a field a few minutes away to test it. Thinking the silencer did not work as it should [Dennes] modified his design and had Ramirez make another one. [Dennes] test fired this model in his office.Shortly after the completion of the second silencer, [Dennes] asked Ramirez to help him and Alberto rob a jewelry dealer who also had an office in the Greenrich Building. [Reinaldo Dennes] explained that he would take the videotape from the security station while Ramirez secured the diamonds and Alberto shot the dealer. Ramirez consented, but returned to South America two days later.
3 Estrella Martinez, [Dennes]’s lover, had a cleaning job at the Greenrich Building. In January of 1996, [Dennes] told Martinez he wanted her to let him in a side door of the building after working hours. He told her he was going to take some videotapes from the security guard’s station on the first floor. On January 22, 1996, [Dennes] gave Martinez a cellular phone with which he planned to call her to tell her when to let him and Alberto into the building. [Dennes] also wanted Martinez to distract the guard so he could take the tapes.Janos Szucs was a reputable wholesale diamond dealer who had an office in the Greenrich Building. Shortly before his death, Szucs had a diamond inventory worth more than $3,600,000 which he kept in his office safe. He also had approximately $200,000 in cash that he planned to use to purchase diamonds on an upcoming trip. Szucs did not have a receptionist or secretary; access to his office was controlled through an electronically-locked door. Szucs had a television monitor in his office so he could see who was at the door and he would allow people in by pushing a remote button located on his desk.
In early January 1996, Szucs and Sam Solomay formed a partnership and Solomay moved into Szucs’s office suite.On January 24th, Solomay left the office at 5:40 p.m., but Szucs remained, explaining that he had an appointment that evening. David Copeland was the security guard on duty at the Greenrich Building that evening, working the 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. shift. A videotape recorder at the security desk recorded the images from the security cameras around the building. When Copeland arrived for his shift, a technician was there working on the surveillance system.Around 6:30 p.m. that same evening, [Dennes] called Martinez on the cellular phone he had provided her and told her to open the loading dock door. [Dennes] and Alberto entered and immediately turned into a stairwell, thereby avoiding the security guard’s desk. Shortly after 7:00 p.m. [Dennes] called Martinez and told her to distract the security guard. Martinez told Copeland that she had locked her keys in a fifth floor office and asked him to help her retrieve them.
A little after 7:30 p.m., [Dennes] again called Martinez and told her that he needed another distraction. The security guard kept the key to the snack bar so Martinez approached Copeland and told him that she needed to clean the area and asked if he would let her in. Shortly after Martinez began cleaning, however, the owner of the snack bar arrived and told her to come back later.When Copeland returned to the lobby, he found a man kneeling behind the security desk apparently working on the security system. Copeland assumed this was related to the earlier repairs. As Copeland approached, the man scrambled to his feet and walked briskly toward the loading dock door. As Copeland neared the security desk, the man turned and headed back toward the guard. When he reached Copeland, the man placed his left hand on Copeland’s shoulder, stuck a .9 mm gun with a silencer to Copeland’s chest with his other hand and fired. The man shot the guard again after he had fallen.
As Copeland lay there playing dead, he heard the man walk to the security desk. He then heard equipment and wires being moved around followed by footsteps running toward the loading dock door.4 The owner of the snack bar called 911.Houston Police Officer Paul Terry arrived on the scene to find Copeland lying face down in the lobby. Copeland told Terry what had happened and the officer unsuccessfully searched for a suspect. Inside the lobby, Terry found spent shell casings and fragments of a fired bullet. He also noticed that the video equipment was missing.
That same evening, Szucs’s wife, Nicole, became concerned that her husband had not arrived home. After several failed attempts to reach her husband, she received a call from a friend who worked in the Greenrich Building who told her that the building guard had been shot. Nicole asked the friend to contact the building’s office manager. Sometime after 11:00 p.m., the building manager approached one of the officers remaining at the scene. Officer M.R. Furstenfeld and a couple of other officers then accompanied the manager to Szucs’s suite to check on his welfare. Upon gaining access to the office, Furstenfeld found Szucs’s dead body. Detectives who arrived at the scene noted no signs of a forced entry. They also noticed that the safe was empty and there were no signs of the 3.6 million dollar diamond inventory Szucs maintained or the $200,000 he was supposed to have on hand in cash. Plus, Szucs was not wearing the fivecarat diamond pinky ring he always wore nor was the ring ever recovered.
5 The detectives also discovered that Szucs’s computer had been damaged as if someone had tried to remove a disc with tweezers.6The police eventually focused their investigation upon [Reinaldo Dennes]. A search of his office revealed a lathe that had been broken down and boxed up, a fired .9 mm bullet, and an owner’s manual for a.9 mm Taurus handgun. Firearms examiner Robert Baldwin determined that the bullets recovered from Szucs’s body, the bullet found in [Reinaldo Dennes]’s office, and the bullets found in the lobby of the Greenrich Building were all fired from the same gun. Moreover, the cartridge casings found in the lobby of the Greenrich Building and those found in the field where [Dennes] tested the silencer were fired from the same gun. The weapon was determined to be either a Taurus or a Beretta .9 mm handgun.