Nearly two decades after a brazen prison break-out and cross-state crime spree that resulted in the murder of an Irving, TX, police officer, Texas 7 prisoner Joseph Garcia was executed Tuesday night in Huntsville.

He was pronounced dead at 6:43 p.m., 13 minutes after the lethal dose began.

In recent weeks, the 47-year-old convicted in the Christmas Eve 2000 murder of Officer Aubrey Hawkins launched a slew of appeals, lawsuits, pleas for reprieve and requests for clemency. His last-minute legal moves raised questions about his initial conviction, the controversial "law of parties" and the source of the state's lethal injection supplies.

Garcia participated in a robbery at an Irving sporting goods store that led to the fatal shootout with Officer Hawkins.

"I am on death row because of the actions and intent of others and because I am one of the Texas Seven, case closed," he wrote the Houston Chronicle weeks before his scheduled execution. "Is it right that I should be murdered for something that I did not do?"

To some friends and family of the slain Officer Hawkins, the answer to Garcia's question is clear.

"Whatever participation he had, he went along with it," said Seagoville police Sgt. Karl Bailey, a long-time friend of the Hawkins family. "The whole thing was sparked by the escape from prison, the burglaries - it was a crime spree."

POLICE covered the details of the crime spree and the breakout in a March 2001 article.

Two other members of the Texas 7 remain on death row. Four have now been executed. One killed himself at the time of apprehension.

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