Texas 7 inmate orders large last meal before execution


by By Jason Whitely / WFAA-TV


Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 20 at 3:14 PM

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - Michael Rodriguez has ordered a large menu for his final meal before being executed tonight.

Rodriguez, 45, asked for fried chicken breast, preferably spicy, grilled pork steak with onions, bacon cheeseburger, a garden salad, and French fries with ketchup.

It arrives about 4:00 p.m., two hours before he is set to die for the murder of an Irving Police officer.

Rodriguez is the first of the notorious Texas 7 to be put to death.

"I need to pay back," Rodriguez said in an interview with the Associated Press last week. "I can't pay back monetarily. This is the way."

He was serving a life sentence for the murder of his wife in San Antonio when he conspired with six others to break out of the John Connally Unit in the fall of 2000.

Rodriguez and six others went on a crime spree, eventually killing Officer Aubrey Hawkins on Christmas Eve, during the robbery of an Oshman's Sporting Goods Store in Irving.

Hawkins was shot 11 times and run over with his own patrol car, the first officer to arrive on the scene investigating suspicious activity.

Rodriguez and his cohorts were finally captured in mountains near Colorado Springs weeks later as they hatched plans to rob a casino.

One committed suicide as police closed in. The remaining six were all sentenced to death.

But Rodriguez asked to be executed first.

"This early execution, to me, was almost a breath of fresh air,"& #160;Lori Hawkins, Aubrey's widow, told WFAA-TV. "I feel like, in my heart, this is someone who's actually admitting to their crime."& #160;

Waiving his appeals, Rodriguez will be strapped to the gurney inside the Walls Unit just before 6:00 p.m.

Outside, more than 20 Irving Police officers will make the three hour trip to Huntsville Thursday afternoon to stand in support of Hawkins' widow, Lori.

"It's good the first one's coming," said Toby Shook Thursday morning, the Dallas prosecutor who tried each of the six. "It's going to be a real long process.

Lori Hawkins rode to the Walls Unit in Huntsville with several Irving Police officers. At least two of them will witness the execution with her.

More than 20 other officers will stand in uniform outside in a show of support, at Lori's request. They rode separately in three vehicles Thursday.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Rodriguez will have no family or friends witness his death.

Rodriguez will be the eighth inmate Texas executes this year.