John Allen Rubio set to have hearing in Hidalgo

BROWNSVILLE — Convicted child killer John Allen Rubio will return to the Rio Grande Valley next week for a hearing pertaining to his 2010 murder conviction.

At an evidentiary hearing before state District Judge Noe Gonzalez in Hidalgo County, experts are expected to provide information on alcohol fetal syndrome, officials said. The hearing is scheduled for Monday.

During Rubio’s competency hearing in February 2010, his mother, Hilda Barrientes, testified that she drank a six-pack of beer on a daily basis while she was pregnant with her son.

A jury in 2010 found Rubio guilty in the beheading of Julissa Quesada, 3; John E. Rubio, 14 months; and Mary Jane Rubio, 2 months, the three children of his common-law wife, Angela Camacho. The murders happened in March of 2003.

Several witnesses will be called to testify in Monday’s hearing, which is expected to last one day, said Rubio’s attorney, David A. Schulman, in an email.

Although Schulman declined to name the witnesses, court documents indicate subpoenas have been issued for former Brownsville Police Chief Carlos Garcia and attorneys Ed Stapleton III and Nathaniel C. Perez Jr., who represented Rubio in his 2010 capital murder trial. Also subpoenaed are Robert R. Swafford and Michelle Tuegel.

Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz declined to comment on the upcoming hearing.

According to a confession Rubio made to Brownsville police, he admitted to killing the children in their home at East Eighth and East Tyler Street in Brownsville because he believed there was an evil presence in them. He even asked one of the officers first to arrive at the crime scene to place him under arrest, according to the officer’s statement.

Rubio was sentenced to the death penalty, and his case received an automatic appeal and an automatic writ of habeas corpus. Schulman filed a habeas corpus application in October 2013.

Although Rubio was first convicted of the murders in November 2003, his conviction was overturned in September 2007, thus granting him a new trial. The appellate court cited the prosecution’s use in Rubio’s trial of videotaped testimony from Camacho.

Camacho, who refused to testify in Rubio’s trial, did not have an attorney present when she gave the videotaped testimony to police.

Also, Rubio’s defense attorneys claimed they were at a disadvantage because they were not able to challenge the videotaped testimony.

Camacho, 32, pleaded guilty to three counts of capital murder in July 2005 in the deaths of her children. Authorities said Camacho gave the knife to Rubio that he used to behead the children and then held them down while they were killed. She is serving three life sentences at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville.

Rubio is on death row in the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas.