Execution date set in decades-old murder

A man convicted of brutally murdering an elderly woman more than two decades ago has received another execution date.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has set 41-year-old Ruben Gutierrez’s execution for July 31.

Gutierrez murdered 85-year-old Escolastica Harrison at the Harrison Mobile Home Park on Morningside Road in 1998.

A Cameron County jury convicted Gutierrez based off evidence that he befriended Harrison so he could rob her of some $600,000 in cash she had hidden in her home.

According to police, Harrison had an aversion to banks and hid her money inside a suitcase within her trailer home.

An autopsy revealed she had been stabbed 13 times with two different screwdrivers and had also been beaten.

According to TDCJ Death Row information, Gutierrez and co-defendants Rene Garcia and Pedro Garcia Jr. entered the residence and struck Harrison once in the head with the intent of knocking her out.

However, Harrison struggled and was repeatedly hit and stabbed multiple times in the head.

Gutierrez had initially been scheduled to die on Sept. 12 for the murder, but on Aug. 22 Senior U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle granted a stay of execution.

That August new lawyers were appointed to represent Gutierrez and they argued that they needed more time to learn about Gutierrez and to examine the massive case record.

Not only that, Gutierrez’s previous attorney said in court documents that she didn’t believe she had the expertise to represent the man at this stage of his death penalty litigation.