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George Rivas Sentenced to Death

Aired August 29, 2001 - 15:29   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Lou Waters here at CNN center. We are going to take you to Dallas, Texas courtroom where George Rivas is just about to hear from his jury the penalty for that he will suffer for his conviction of murdering a police officer after a prison escape.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please be seated. The verdict reads special issue number one: Do you find from the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that there is a probability that the defendant, George Rivas would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society? Answer: yes. Signed: Otis Ogburn (ph) , presiding juror.

Special issue number 2: Do you find from the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, George Rivas, actually caused the death of the deceased or did not actually cause the death of the deceased but intended to kill the deceased or another or anticipated that a human life would be taken? Answer: Yes. Signed: Otis Ogburn, presiding juror.

Special issue number three: Do you find, taking into consideration all the evidence, including the circumstances of the offense, the defendant's character, and background, and the personal moral culpability of the defendant that there is a sufficient mitigating circumstance or circumstances to warrant that a sentence of life imprisonment rather than a death sentence be imposed? Answer: no. Signed: Otis Ogburn, presiding juror.

If that is the verdict of each and every one of you, would you please signify that by raising your right hand. Let the record reflect that each juror has raised his or her right hand. This concludes your jury service in this case. I am going to ask you to please step back in the jury room just for a moment. You all are free from any admonitions I have given you about not discussing the case, not talking to anybody about the case or about what went on during deliberations.

Obviously you can talk to anybody you choose to, but you can decide not to talk to anyone, if that's your personal choice. But if you all would wait just for a second back in the jury room, please go with the sheriff. All right, Mr. Rivas, I am going to ask you to stand please, sir. The jury having returned a unanimous verdict in each of the three special issues, is there any legal reason under law why you should not be sentenced at this time?

Hearing no reason, it is therefore the order judgment decree of the court that you be taken by the sheriff of Dallas County and by him safely held until you are transported to an authorized receiving agent to the state penitentiary where you will be confined until such time as the death penalty is carried out. Please go with the sheriff.

WATERS: Texas State District Judge Molly Francis imposing the death penalty on George Rivas. He is the man with six other inmates escaped from prison and on Christmas eve murdered Officer Aubrey Hawkins of the Dallas police. That is the crime for which he is now being sentenced to death. His attorneys had been fighting for a life sentence, saying that would be worse for Rivas because he would be confined 23 hours a day to isolation.

Rivas himself said, what you call the death penalty, I call freedom. He petitioned the jurors to give him the death penalty. That's what he has received. George Rivas will pay the ultimate price for his crime.

We'll take a break. There will be more news at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

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