It was a late night for the executioner, as the execution of San Antonio hit man Rolando Ruiz was delayed nearly five hours while officials waited for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on three separate appeals which would have blocked his execution, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The execution was set, but Ruiz waited until after 10:30 before he was strapped to the gurney to die for the 1992 murder for hire of USAA employee Theresa Rodriguez.
As the poison began to flow into his veins, a repentant Ruiz turned to the victim's two sisters, who were watching the execution with their husbands, and apologized.
"Words cannot begin to express how sorry I am, and the hurt I have caused you and your family," a prison official told News Radio 1200 WOAI Ruiz said to them.
Ruiz took $2,000 from Rodriguez' husband and brother in law to shoot her in the head as the couple's car pulled into the driveway of her northwest side home in July of 1992. Prosecutors said Michael had his eye on another woman, and the brothers hoped to divvy up Theresa's USAA employee life insurance policy.
"I am at peace, Jesus Christ is Lord, I love you all," Ruiz said before the lethal drugs stopped his heart.
Ruiz had lived on Death Row for 25 years. In fact, one of his failed appeals claimed that living on Death Row for a quarter century was in itself 'cruel and unusual punishment.'
Ruiz has eight years more life than Michael Rodriguez, who was executed in 2008 for his role in the Texas Seven prison escape in 2000, during which a police officer was killed.