Mar. 1—The attorney for Michael “Spider” Gonzales have asked Ector County District Court Judge John Schrode to stop his execution, which is scheduled for next Tuesday, saying they have new evidence that could prove he didn’t murder an Odessa couple. A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for Friday morning.
According to Richard Burr’s motion, Odessa Police Department Crime Scene Unit Supervisor Stephanie Bothwell recently found 136 latent fingerprint cards in a storage box. They are prints that were collected from the home of murder victims Manuel and Merced Aguirre and more than 60 fingerprints are suitable for comparison purposes. The attorneys wrote it will take months to compare the fingerprints to other known fingerprints.
Burr is also asking for additional DNA testing to be done.
Erich Dryden, the assistant attorney general assigned to the Gonzales case, said he could not comment when reached Tuesday morning.
Authorities believe Gonzales stabbed the Aguirres to death after they woke up to find Gonzales, their neighbor, burglarizing their home on April 22, 1994. He was convicted and sentenced to death in December 1995. He was sentenced to death again in 2009.
Burr contends Gonzales is innocent and has named three other men as the real killers, men who were suspects in the case, but never charged. According to his motion, he has one witness who says one of the three confessed his involvement in the murders to him and another witness who says two of the men threatened Gonzales to keep him quiet about their commission of the crime.
According to the court document, one of the men told a defense investigator his blood was at the scene and a recent examination of the man’s flannel shirt — which was seized by police, but never introduced at trial — revealed there are stains on its inner lining.
Authorities discovered in 2003 blood on the outside of the shirt belonged to the Aguirres, but Burr wants the stains on the inside of the shirt tested to confirm they are blood and that the blood belongs to his alternative suspect, who had wounds on his arms in the days after the Aguirres died. Gonzales, Burr wrote, did not have any wounds to his hands or arms.
In addition, Burr alleges Gonzales should not be executed because he suffers from intellectual disabilities and prosecutors hid the fact the lead police investigator had a “long history of misconduct and dishonesty.”
Burr also wants to vacate the execution date because they say the assistant attorney general who sought the execution date was “unconstitutionally appointed” as district attorney pro tem.
Gonzales is currently the only person convicted by an Ector County jury on death row.