Posted: Nov 13, 2012 11:28 AM
Updated: Nov 13, 2012 11:29 AM
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) Ramon Torres Hernandez was known to his friends on the streets of San Antonio as "Razor," but it was a shovel that helped put him on death row.
Hernandez, 39, was set to die Wednesday for the rape, robbery and slaying of a 37-year-old San Antonio woman abducted from a bus stop in 2001. A shovel used to bury her in a shallow grave helped tie him to the crime.
Rosa Maria Rosado's death was one of at least three slayings linked to the registered sex offender who was on parole from an 18-year term for a burglary and rape when he was charged.
"He is a predator, your worst nightmare," then-Bexar County Assistant District Attorney Robert McClure told jurors who decided in 2002 that Hernandez should die.
During his trial, jurors were told DNA had tied Hernandez to the abduction, sexual assault, beating and strangulation of cousins Sarah Gonzales, 13, and Priscilla Almares, 12. They disappeared a week before Christmas in 1994 while walking to a friend's holiday party from the same area of San Antonio where Rosado was snatched years later. A car dealership employee delivering Christmas baskets found the girls' bodies the next day on the side of a road.
Evidence at trial, including a video from Walmart, also showed Hernandez sent his pregnant girlfriend to buy the shovel that he and an accomplice used to bury Rosado.
His girlfriend, Asel Abdygapparova, met with police five days after Rosado disappeared and led officers to the body and the motel room where she was killed. Hours later, Hernandez and a friend he met in prison, Santos Minjares, were arrested.
Hernandez initially denied knowing his girlfriend and Minjares.
Later, he told police that he, Abdygapparova and Minjares, who also was on parole, were driving around San Antonio looking to rob someone when they spotted Rosado at a bus stop on March 31, 2001. Hernandez pulled their car up to her, and Minjares grabbed Rosado's purse. When she wouldn't let go, he pulled her into the car, which sped off.
After taping Rosado's mouth shut and covering her head with a towel, they rented the motel room where she was raped repeatedly and eventually killed with a pillow held over her face.
Hernandez and Minjares were convicted and sent to death row, where Minjares died in January of septic shock and multiple organ failure.
Abdygapparova, a University of Texas at San Antonio graduate student from Kazakhstan, received a life sentence. She gave birth in jail following her arrest.
Hernandez had been classified as a sex offender since 1991, when he admitted in court that he broke into a house with the intent to commit sexual assault. However, the law didn't require disclosure of his status until 1997, three years after Gonzales and Almares were killed.
Hernandez also has long been considered a suspect in the unsolved slayings of two 15-year-old girls in Bandera County, just west of San Antonio. Their decomposed bodies were found in April 1995, some five months after they disappeared two days apart.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused last month to review Hernandez's case after lower courts rejected his appeals.
"I'm not at this point expecting any further judicial proceedings," said Robin Norris, Hernandez's appeals attorney.
Hernandez's execution will be the 14th this year in Texas and the first of two on consecutive nights.
On Thursday, a Houston man, Preston Hughes III, 46, has been scheduled to die for the 1988 stabbing deaths of a 15-year-old girl and her 3-year-old cousin.