>By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas on Tuesday executed a 35-year-old man convicted of fatally shooting a recently arrived Mexican immigrant in the head and robbing him of $8.
Juan Garcia was pronounced dead from a lethal injection at 6:26 p.m. at the state’s execution chamber in Huntsville, a prisons official said.
Garcia, then 18, was found guilty of killing Hugo Solano, 32, in a 1998 robbery in Houston. Garcia and three accomplices had launched a violent crime spree in the Houston area, which included the robbery, the Texas Attorney General’s Office said.
“When Solano refused to hand over any money, Garcia shot him four times in the head and neck, killing him,” it said.
In his statement, Garcia sought forgiveness from Solano’s family.
“While I am still alive I bring suffering to you all. The harm that I did to your dad and husband, I hope this brings you closure to all of you. I never wanted to hurt any of you all,” he was quoted as saying by prisons officials.
This month, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended that the execution go ahead.
None of Garcia’s three co-defendants were sentenced to death.
“I never intended to kill him,” Garcia told the Houston Chronicle a few days before the execution. He added he did not rob Solano of $8 – the aggravating factor that made the crime a capital offense, the paper reported.
Prosecutors said he stole the money.
“I never intended it to happen the way it happened. I didn’t mean to kill. I had no reason to,” Garcia was quoted as saying by the paper.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney and Sandra Maler)