Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - http://www.wfaa.com -
- A convicted hit man has been executed in
for a triple slaying in
nearly 14 years ago.
Christopher Coleman received lethal injection Tuesday evening for his part in a
scheme contrived by a Colombian man who hoped to eliminate an $80,000 cocaine
debt by staging a robbery. Four people wound up getting shot in a car on a
dead-end street in
. Three of them died, including a 3-year-old boy.
lawyers lost last-day appeals in the courts and failed to keep him from becoming
the 18th condemned prisoner executed this year in
, the nation's most active death penalty state.
Board of Pardons and Paroles earlier rejected a clemency request for Coleman,
one of three men convicted in the case. The other two, Enrique Andrade Mosquera
and Derrick Graham, received life in prison.
know is the jury never heard the truth in this case," said Coleman's
attorney, Patrick McCann. "And I don't think anybody can say who shot
said Mosquera owed $80,000 for four kilos of cocaine he received from Hurtado
Heinar Prado, 34, also from
, but didn't want to pay. Instead, he hired Coleman for $12,000 and Graham for
$10,000 to stage a robbery during the payoff.
Heinar Prado was in the front seat of a car driven by another Colombian, Jose
Mario Garcia-Castro, 33, when they met the three men at the end of a Houston
street in the early morning hours of Dec. 14, 1995. Elsie Prado, Prado's sister
and Garcia-Castro's girlfriend, and her son, Danny Giraldo, were in the back
showed that Coleman approached the passenger side of the car, said something to
the two men in the front and opened fire. Only Elsie Prado survived. She
identified Coleman as the gunman.
tests showed that all 11 shots were fired from outside the passenger side of the
car. Testimony showed that Mosquero was standing near the front of the driver's
side and Graham was in front of the car.
arrested at a motel in
, a week later. He told police he was at the shooting scene but denied being the
gunman. At his trial, Coleman's lawyers argued he was not the gunman.
appeals attorneys argued that Elsie Prado's testimony at his 1997 trial was not
truthful, that she lied about her involvement in the drug deal and that she
failed to disclose that she and Mosquera knew each other and grew up in the same
Circuit ruled last week that jurors could have found Coleman guilty of capital
murder even without the woman's testimony.
was substantial evidence, independent of Prado's testimony, that Coleman was
present at the scene of the murders and participated in the robbery that led to
the killings," the court said.
no previous prison record but served 60 days in jail in
for assault. He refused to speak with reporters in the weeks before his
execution was one of two set for this week in