Texas plans on Thursday to execute a man who was convicted for shooting and killing his 29-year-old wife and his two daughters, as well as his father-in-law and sister-in-law shortly after smoking crack in 2002.
Abel Ochoa, 47, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville at 6 p.m. CST (0000 GMT), 17 years after a jury found him guilty of capital murder.
Ochoa would be the third inmate in the United States and the second in Texas to be executed in 2020. Texas, which executed nine inmates in 2019, has executed more prisoners than any other state since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
On Aug. 4, 2002, 20 minutes after smoking $10 worth of crack cocaine, Ochoa went into his living room and shot to death his wife Cecilia, nine-month-old daughter Anahi, his father-in-law Bartolo and his sister-in-law Jackie, prosecutors said.
He then reloaded his .9mm Ruger handgun and chased his 7-year-old daughter Crystal into the kitchen, where he shot her four times. He had also shot his sister-in-law Alma, the lone survivor of the attack.
Police stopped Ochoa soon after the shooting as he was driving his wife’s Toyota 4Runner. Investigators later learned that after killing his family, Ochoa went to an ATM and attempted to use his wife’s bank card to withdraw money to buy more crack cocaine.
“Ochoa told the arresting officer that the gun he used was at his house on the table, that he could not handle the stress anymore, and that he had gotten tired of his life,” court records showed.
Ochoa later wrote a confession in which he told authorities that he was frustrated that his wife would not give him more money for drugs, court documents said.
Several state and federal courts have denied requests for the execution to be halted and appeals on Ochoa’s behalf since his conviction.
On Wednesday, Ochoa asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the execution so an appeal challenging the constitutionality of the clemency process in Texas could be heard. Read more