HUNTSVILLE, Texas — WFAA reporter Jason Whitely is a media witness to the execution of convicted police killer and Texas 7 gang member George Rivas. Here are his dispatches from Huntsville leading up to and immediately following the execution.
7:10p The lethal drugs took effect on George Rivas very quickly. He was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m., 10 minutes after the injection began.
7:09p We've now received the full text of George Rivas' final statement:
First of all, for the Aubrey Hawkins family, I do apologize for everything that happened. Not because I am here, but for closure in your hearts. I really believe you deserve that.
To my wife, Cheri. I am so grateful you’re in my life. I love you so dearly.
Thank you to my sister and dear friend, Katherine Cox, my son and my family. Friends and family, I love you so dearly.
To my friends, all the guys on the row, you have my courtesy and respect.
Thank you to the people involved and the courtesy of the officers. I am grateful for everything in my life. To my wife, take care of yourself, I will be waiting for you. I love you, God bless.
I am ready to go.
7:07p Prior to his execution George Rivas told his new wife he loved her. "I am grateful for everything in my life. I love you. God bless. I am ready to go." Rivas was calm, smiling and appeared to be at peace with what was to follow.
6:31p Before being put to death, George Rivas said: "For Aubrey Hawkins' family, I apologized for everything that happened ... not because I'm here, but for closure in your hearts. I really believe you deserve that.
6:26p Texas 7 gang leader George Rivas was executed by lethal injection at 6:22 p.m. for the murder of Irving police Officer Aubrey Hawkins.
5:59p George Rivas will be strapped to a gurney, arms extended, and an IV for the lethal injection will be inserted in both arms. Once He's strapped down, the warden will call for witnesses to enter the two observation rooms.
5:58p Once witnesses are in place, guards will ask George Rivas if he wants to make a final statement. He said he did.
5:48p Guards move George Rivas from his holding cell, 15 feet to the execution chamber. The lethal injection procedure is scheduled to begin a few minutes after six o'clock.
5:22p One of George Rivas' four witnesses did not appear for his execution. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins will attend instead.
5:03p Three drugs are used in the lethal injection cocktail. That used to cost about $86, but the price has recently skyrocketed to more than $1,300 because the state has been forced to resort to a more expensive substitute for one of the drugs being used.
5:01p "I met with him a few minutes ago along with the warden and the chaplain, and Rivas stated that he's... all these years he's made it clear that he's ready to go," said Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. "He did say that he was going to make a last statement." Rivas is said to have made several personal calls from a phone provided by the prison, He asked five friends to witness his lethal injection.
4:50p More than 15 Irving police officers are standing outside the Walls Unit where George Rivas will soon be executed for killing Irving Officer Aubrey Hawkins on Christmas Eve 2000.
4:42p The widow of Irving police Officer Aubrey Hawkins, who was killed by George Rivas, will not attend the execution. She told News 8 that she felt no closure after being present at the last execution of a Texas 7 gang member in 2009.
4:40p George Rivas was served barbequeue chicken for his final meal, just like the other inmates at the Walls Unit.
4:30p George Rivas' appeals have all been denied. Clemency is denied. The state says attorneys for the convicted killer do not plan a last-minute challenge to the scheduled 6 o'clock execution.
3:49p Texas no longer offers a special "last meal" to condemned inmates. At 4 o'clock, George Rivas will get the same meal the rest of the unit gets today.
2:48p WFAA photojournalist Taylor Lumsden is following five Irving Police Department vehicles en route to Huntsville to witness the execution of George Rivas.
12:47p Arriving at the Walls Unit, George Rivas goes to a holding cell 15 feet away from the death chamber. He is alone and unrestrained and can use a phone.
12:45p George Rivas will be fingerprinted and given a new white uniform upon arriving at the Walls unit following lunch for his scheduled 6 o'clock execution.
11:50a Guards will soon move George Rivas from Death Row about 40 miles to the Walls Unit for a scheduled 6 p.m. execution.
11:45a George Rivas spent this morning meeting with friends behind glass at Texas Death Row.