The Texas Seven was a prison escape which would became a sensation as the seven men from the Texas Department Of Corrections would basically disappeared. However with the murder of police officer Aubrey Hawkins and the help of America’s Most Wanted this prison escape would come to a sudden end in Colorado. In this article on My Crime Library we are going to take a closer look at the Texas Seven and the murder of Officer Hawkins.
Texas Seven Members
George Rivas was serving a sentence of eighteen consecutive fifteen years to life for a series of armed robberies
Michael Rodriguez was serving a sentence of ninety nine years to life for the contract killing of his wife
Joseph Garcia was serving a sentence of fifty years for murder
Larry Harper was serving a fifty year sentence for sexual assault
Donald Newbury was serving a ninety nine year sentence for armed robbery
Patrick Murphy was serving a fifty year sentence for sexual assault
Randy Halprin was serving a thirty year sentence for injury to a child
Texas Seven Prison Break
The Texas Seven prison break took place on December 13, 2000. The seven members had been planning the prison break for months. On the day of the escape the seven members would overpower a series of Texas Department Of Correction employees including four prison guards, nine maintenance supervisors and three fellow inmates. The group had waited for lunchtime as it was notoriously slow and with less staff present. All of the hostages were stripped and their personal possessions were taken.
Three of the members of the Texas Seven dressed in stolen civilian clothing made their way to the back gate where they were able to enter the gatehouse under the guise of installing video cameras. Once inside they were able to overpower the guards and take control of the gatehouse. The four who had remained inside of the prison called other gatehouses to keep them distracted while the original three stole weapons and tied up their hostages. The remaining four would steal a truck, drive to the gatehouse, pick up the other three and drive out of the prison. It was later learned that Michael Rodriguez father had left them a vehicle near by and the Texas seven would switch vehicles and basically disappear.
The Murder Of Officer Audrey Hawkins
The prison truck would be found in Kennedy Texas at a Walmart. The Texas Seven were short on cash so they robbed a Radio Shack in the Houston Texas area the next day.
On December 19, 2000 the Texas Seven members would check into a Econo Lodge in the Dallas Fort Worth area and planned their next robbery which was to take place on Christmas Eve
The target was Oshman’s Sporting Goods in Irving Texas. The Texas Seven would enter the store and quickly take over the store by tying up the employees. What they did not know is that an off duty employee was outside of the store and would call 911. While they were inside of the store the Texas Seven would steal forty different types of firearms plus a ton of ammunition.
Officer Audrey Hawkins was the first responding police officer and he was immediately ambushed by the group. After being shot several times Officer Hawkins was run over at the scene. The Texas Seven would fall off the map until a month later in Colorado
Texas Seven Capture
The Texas Seven were featured on an episode of America’s Most Wanted on January 20, 2001. Several people would call in reporting a group that had been staying at the Coachlight Motel and RV Park in Woodland Park, Colorado. A SWAT team from El Paso Texas and local police officers would arrest George Rivas, Joseph Garcia and Michael Rodriguez sitting in a Jeep within the RV Park. Randy Halprin and Larry Harper were inside of a motorhome. Halprin would surrender peacefully however Larry Harper would take his own life.
The two remaining members were hiding at a Holiday Inn in Colorado Springs. The two would agree to turn themselves in after speaking to the media. Donald Newbury and Patrick Murphy would tell the news reporter on what they fell were abuse and corruption in the Texas Department Of Corrections.
Eventually the six remaining members of the Texas Seven would be extradited back to Texas where they were all charged and later convicted of the Capital Murder of Officer Hawkins and sentenced to death.
Texas Seven Executions
Michael Rodriguez was the first member of the Texas Seven to be executed as he said he was tired of prison life and stopped all of his appeals. Rodriguez would be executed on August 14, 2008. George Rivas would be executed on February 29, 2012. Donald Newbury was executed on February 4, 2015. Joseph Garcia was executed on December 4, 2018.
Randy Halprin and Patrick Murphy are still on Texas Death Row as of 2021. The two remaining members have argued that they served as lookouts and were at the back of the store when Officer Hawkins was murdered.
Texas Seven Videos
Texas Seven More News
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the case of a Texas death row inmate who argued he should get a new trial because the judge who presided over his case was biased against Jews.
The justices said they would not hear the case of Randy Halprin, one of the so-called Texas 7, but Halprin’s claims of bias and that he should get a new trial are still under review by a Texas court.
Halprin and six others escaped from prison in 2000. The group later robbed a sporting goods store in Irving, Texas, fatally shooting responding police officer Aubrey Hawkins as they fled.
Lawyers for Halprin, who is Jewish, said an investigation found that Judge Vickers Cunningham, who presided over his trial, was anti-Semitic and frequently used racial slurs.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the facts Halprin presented are “deeply disturbing” but she nonetheless agreed with the decision not to hear his case. Sotomayor noted that Halprin’s execution has now been stayed while state courts consider whether “bias infected his trial.”
Sotomayor wrote that the Constitution clearly requires a fair trial before an unbiased judge.
“I trust that the Texas courts considering Halprin’s case are more than capable of guarding this fundamental guarantee,” she wrote. She suggested the Supreme Court could still take the case at a later date.
Tivon Schardl, a lawyer for Halprin, said in a statement that lawyers would “continue to seek a new, fair trial.”
A Dallas Morning News story revealed in 2018, when Cunningham was running for county commissioner, that he had created a trust for his children that withheld money if they chose to marry someone who was not white or not Christian. The story also quoted a former campaign worker who said Cunningham used a racial slur to describe black defendants. In response, Cunningham denied ever using the racial slur and said in a statement that his “views on interracial marriage have evolved” since he set up the trust in 2010.
Halprin’s lawyers followed up with an investigation of their own which found that Cunningham used racial slurs not only to talk about African Americans but also to talk about Jews and Latinos. The investigation also found he allegedly threatened not to pay for his daughter’s law school tuition unless she broke up with a Jewish boyfriend.
Halprin and death row inmate Patrick Murphy are the only members of the Texas 7 that are still alive. One of the men committed suicide as authorities closed in on the group following their escape. Four others were convicted and executed. Murphy’s execution has also been stayed.