Attorneys request delay in execution of Valley man

MGN Online

Death row inmate Ruben Gutierrez has requested to delay his execution for another 21 days, according to a motion filed in a federal court in Brownsville on Monday.

Gutierrez was sentenced to death in 1999 after he was convicted in the stabbing and beating death of Escolastica Cuellar Harrison during a home invasion.

According to court documents, Harrison was the owner of the trailer park and had $600,000 in cash inside the trailer where she lived with her nephew at the time of the incident.

Gutierrez and his attorneys have long sought DNA testing, which Gutierrez claims could exonerate him. Cameron County prosecutors have argued against Gutierrez’s requests, claiming that the possibility of multiple killers means that tested evidence that does not match Gutierrez will not necessarily rule him out.

Gutierrez was initially scheduled to be executed in September 2018. He was granted a stay of execution in July based on a “defect in the warrant”, which his attorneys argued did not have the proper seal from the court when it was delivered to the sheriff and an attorney, according to The Brownsville Herald archives.

On Oct. 22, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay on Gutierrez’s Oct. 30 execution date to give his attorneys more time to investigate.

The latest motion, filed on Nov. 4, argues that “good cause” exists in Gutierrez’s extension request due to the length and history of his case, as well as the complexity of multiple issues raised by Gutierrez and his attorneys in a prior motion to dismiss Gutierrez’s appeal.

If granted by the court, the newly filed motion will extend Gutierrez’s stay of execution until Nov. 25.

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com