Inmate Executed for Killing Dallas Officer


Texas’ execution chamber in Huntsville. | Image by Texas Department of Criminal Justice

A prisoner on death row was executed at the state penitentiary in Huntsville on Wednesday for the 2007 murder of a Dallas police officer.

Wesley Ruiz, 43, was executed by lethal ejection on February 1 for shooting and killing Corporal Mark Nix after a high-speed chase more than 15 years ago, the Associated Press reported.

A spiritual advisor prayed for Ruiz shortly before his execution. Meanwhile, about a dozen pro-police bikers revved their engines outside the prison in the freezing rain.

Ruiz spoke before his execution as he was strapped to a gurney.

“I would like to apologize to Mark and the Nix family for taking him away from you,” Ruiz said, per the AP. “I hope this brings you closure.”

Nix’s mother, along with his friends and family, watched the execution, but Ruiz reportedly did not make eye contact with any of them before his execution.

He was administered a lethal dose of pentobarbital, and as the drug took effect, he reportedly took two breaths before starting to snore. After snoring 11 times, he fell silent.

He was officially pronounced dead at 6:41 p.m.

Ruiz’s execution was the fourth in the U.S. this year and the second in Texas. Another execution was scheduled in Texas for this week, but it has been postponed, the Merced Sun reported.

Lawyers for Ruiz had appealed the execution all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The legal team argued that Ruiz, who was Hispanic, was profiled by jurors in an “overtly racist” way in determining that he was a danger in the future, which Texas requires for a death sentence.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ultimately declined to delay the execution, which was carried out later that same day.

The events leading to Ruiz’s execution began on March 23, 2007, when Dallas police spotted Ruiz driving a vehicle matching the description of a car belonging to a murder suspect. Police attempted to stop the vehicle, but Ruiz fled, leading officers on a brief high-speed chase before crashing the car.

Corporal Nix was attempting to break the car’s window on the passenger side after the crash when Ruiz opened fire, striking the officer. The bullet shattered on impact with Nix’s police badge, with fragments of the bullet hitting an artery in the officer’s neck. Nix died later that day at the hospital.

After a two-hour standoff with the Dallas Police SWAT team, Ruiz was taken into custody. Tried in 2008, he was convicted of capital murder before being sentenced to death.

Corporal Nix, a veteran of Operation Storm, was 33 at the time of his death. He was a seven-year veteran of the force and was engaged to be married.

The Dallas Express regularly reports on crime in the Dallas area, including attacks against police. Through the Crime Boss series, The Dallas Express informs its readers of upticks in crime in the respective city council districts when and where they occur.

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