Rolando Ruiz was executed on March 7th, 2017 at Huntsville Prison in Texas for the 1992 murder-for-hire of Theresa Rodriguez. Ruiz was hired to kill Rodriguez by her husband and brother in law so they could cash in on life insurance policies they had taken out on her. On July 14th, Ruiz approached Theresa and her husband Mark as they got out of their car in the garage at their home, apparently under the guise of asking for directions. Ruiz shot Theresa once in the head and walked to a vehicle waiting down the street for him. The execution was delayed for about five hours while the U.S. Supreme Court considered three appeals that Ruiz’s attorneys had filed in an attempt for a stay of execution. Their arguments stated that Ruiz was not given adequate counsel during his trial, and that evidence of severe childhood abuse and trauma and a pattern in adulthood of chronic drug and alcohol abuse was not presented, which may have influenced his sentence. They also stated that Ruiz has been on death row since 1995, with multiple execution dates and reprieves, which they argued was unconstitutionally cruel. Ultimately, all appeals were rejected.
When asked for his final words, Ruiz said to the family of Theresa Rodriguez - “Words cannot begin to express how sorry I am and the hurt I have caused you and your family. May this bring you peace and forgiveness.” He turned to his own family and thanked them for their love and support, and said “I am at peace. Jesus Christ is Lord. I love you all”. He was then given a lethal dose of pentobarbital, took several deep breaths, began to snore quietly, and then was silent. He was pronounced dead at 11:06 p.m. Rolando Ruiz was the third man to be executed in Texas in 2017, and the fifth in the United States.