The Texas Seven prison escape caught the Nation’s attention when they escaped from the John Connally Unit near Kenedy Texas and they would be on the run for over a month. During an armed robbery a police officer Aubrey Hawkins would be killed. In this article we are going to take a closer look at the Texas Seven and what would happen to them once they were taken back into custody
Texas Seven Members
The Texas Seven were consisted of members who were all serving long prison sentences for a variety of offences. Lets take a closer look
George Rivas was the alleged leader of the Texas Seven. He was serving multiple life sentences for a number of armed robberies. Rivas would complain that his sentence was way too long as no one was hurt during the robberies.
18 Consecutive Sentences of 15 Years to Life
Joseph Garcia was serving a long sentence for a murder that allegedly took place during a drunken argument
50 Year Sentence
Larry Harper was serving multiple fifty year sentences for the sexual assault of three women.
Three 50 Year Sentences
Randy Halprin was serving a thirty year sentence for injury to a child
30 Year Sentence
Patrick Murphy was serving a long sentence for breaking into a woman’s home and sexually assaulting her
50 Year Sentence
Donald Newbury was serving a long prison sentence for aggravated robbery with a weapon
99 Years To Life
Michael Rodriguez was serving life in prison for the murder of his wife. Rodriguez hired a hitman to commit the murder
99 Years To Life
The Texas Seven Escape
On December 13 2000 the Texas Seven would escape from the John Connaly Unit maximum security prison near Kenedy Texas.
The plan was in works for a month before the actual day that they would leave. On the day of the escape the Texas Seven would use a number of ploys to take control of the area they were working. Nine civilian maintenance supervisors, four correctional guards and three inmates were all put under control by the Texas Seven. Each of the victims were knocked unconscious, tied up and all of their possessions were taken including clothes and credit cards.
The next step in the escape had three of the Texas Seven members leave the unit in civilian clothing and subdue a guard who was working at the guardhouse. Once they had control of the gate the remaining members would drive up in a stolen work truck, pick up the three and drive away from the prison. It was learned later on that Michael Rodriguez father had stashed a getaway vehicle nearby (the father would be convicted of a felony)
The white work truck was found at a Walmart in Kenedy Texas.
Texas Seven Prison Escape – Outside Of The Walls
The Texas Seven very quickly learned that they needed money to get out of the area. At first they headed to San Antonio but would later head to Houston where they would rob a Radio Shack on the outskirts of the city,
On December 24, 2000 the Texas Seven decided to rob a sporting goods store in Irving Texas, in order to pick up guns, ammo and money. Once inside of the store they would tie up employees and begin to ransack the store. An off duty employee noticed the commotion and would call the police.
When Officer Audrey Hawkins arrived at the scene he was immediately ambushed by a number of members of the Texas Seven. The Officer was shot repeatedly and would be run over by the car
Texas Seven Head To Colorado
After the murder of Audrey Hawkins there was a reward posted for the Texas Seven for $100,000 for information leading to their arrest and capture. The group would basically disappear from the map and would show up in Colorado sometime later.
The Texas Seven were living in a RV Park in Woodlawn Colorado where they were playing the role of Christian Missionaries. The acting worked for awhile however on January 20, 2001 the show Americas Most Wanted would air a feature on the Texas Seven whose reward had now climbed to $500,000. A number of people would call in telling the authorities where they were
The FBI and local police would follow George Rivas, Michael Rodriguez and Joseph Garcia out of the park to a gas station where the three were taken into custody. Randy Halprin and Larry Harper were located inside of an RV, Halprin would quickly give himself over to the authorities however after a brief standoff Harper would shoot himself in the chest taking his own life to avoid going back to prison.
The two remaining members of the group were located in a nearby motel. Patrick Murphy and Donald Newbury promised to turn themselves in peacefully if they could give a statement to the media. The authorities agreed. The statement basically was about the poor conditions and treatment in the Texas Department Of Corrections.
Texas Seven Prison Escape Aftermath
After all members of the group were arrested and taken into custody in Colorado and would later be transferred back to Texas where the surviving six members were put on trial, individually, for the murder of Officer Audrey Hawkins and the robberies. All six members would be convicted and sentenced to death.
Michael Rodriguez – Executed August 14, 2008
George Rivas – February 29, 2012
Donald Newbury – February 4, 2015
Joseph Garcia – December 4, 2018
Randy Halprin and Patrick Murphy are still on Texas Death Row