Death Row RGV


You can find corruption and crime in almost every major city in the United States. But being close to Mexico can many times make things worse. That is not the case for murder in the valley. Those stats are way down now

However, there have been some bloody times that left our area with a black eye. Many of the people behind those cases are now waiting to be executed. News Center 23’s Amy Martinez reports in “Death Row RGV.”

A total of 10 inmates from the Rio Grande Valley are currently sitting on death row. The clock is ticking, as they wait to take their last breath.

These are a few of the people who have committed some of the most heinous crimes in the State of Texas. Of those 10, 6 are from Hidalgo County.

46-year-old Douglas Armstrong. He was sentenced to death for cutting the throat of a middle aged man with a box cutter. Killing him, and taking off with his money. Then there are other cases that may ring a bell.

The 2003 Edinburg massacre that left six men dead just days after the new year.

“Not only was it known county-wide, but also nation-wide.” said Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez.

Rodriguez calls the Edinburg massacre one of the largest mass murders in the valley.

“Obviously because it was a series of crimes that were committed all together, at the same time. And there were other crimes that were associated with it, with that incident and were tied up as well.”

Court records state a total of 13 Tri-City Bombers were responsible for the death of rival gang member, Jerry Hidalgo, and five others. A gang that originated in the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo area. A few months prior to the massacre, several of the same gang members were involved in the slayings of four women in Donna. 33-year-old Robert ‘Bones’ Garza was executed on September 19, 2013 as a result. Three others with executions pending.

The murders of 10 people turned the stomachs of many valley residents. And only months passed before the RGV would see something even more sinister. This time, in Cameron County. 

The death by beheading of three young children at the hands of their parents inside a small apartment in downtown Brownsville. Better known as the Rubio House Murders.

Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz said, “On March 11,2003, three children were horrendously murdered. They were decapitated. As the facts later revealed, they were stuffed in trash bags. Very, very horrible scene.” 

This time around, the valley made international headlines. An act carried out by orders of satan, according to the drug-induced killers. 

Marcos Castro, Cameron County Resident, “I remember back then when this did happen, a lot of people gathered out here, everyone brought teddy bears. I personally, I remember I brought a lot of my toys, left them out here. There was a Virgin Mary a lot of people were out here praying for them.”

The gruesome triple homicide became the valley’s dark spot on its soul for many years.

District Attorney Saenz, “So horrible, that some of the most veteran police officers that went in there, to this day still recall the incident and are still traumatized by what they saw.”


36-year-old John Allen Rubio is awaiting execution for killing his three children, Julissa, John and Mary Jane. His common-law wife Angela Camacho is serving three life sentences in Gatesville after pleading guilty to the murders. But Rubio is only one of the four inmates who are still waiting to pay for the crimes they’ve committed.


On August 12, 2008 Melissa Elizabeth Lucio was sentenced to death for the murder of her two year old daughter. Lucio is one of only six women in the State of Texas on Death Row.


Hidalgo County DA Rodriguez, “I don’t think that there’s ever gender involved. That’s a decision made whether they’ll seek the death penalty or not. If we have to go that route and proceed forward with the death penalty in a case, then obviously it’s available.”


Currently Rodriguez’s office is working on a few cases where they may be seeking the death penalty.

Residents in the Rio Grande Valley have always been torn on the issue. A population of mostly Catholics, the majority with ties to Mexico, where the death penalty is outlawed. But in a state that carries out more executions than any other state in the country.


Juries in both Hidalgo and Cameron County have been clear on those crimes where an eye for an eye is necessary. Including the 10 individuals nine men and one woman who will soon pay the ultimate price for carrying out the most gruesome and horrendous of all crimes.

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