By JUAN A. LOZANO and MICHAEL GRACZYK Associated Press
HUNTSVILLE (AP) — A Dallas man was executed Thursday evening for a shooting in which he killed his wife, two children and two other relatives during a drug-fueled rage nearly 18 years ago.
Prosecutors say Abel Ochoa was high on crack cocaine and looking for money to buy more drugs when he started shooting inside his home in August 2002.
Ochoa, 47, was pronounced dead at 6:48 p.m., 23 minutes after receiving a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the slayings of his wife, Cecilia, 32, and his 7-year-old daughter, Crystal. He also killed his 9-month-old daughter, Anahi; his father-in-law, 56-year-old Bartolo Alvizo; and his sister-in-law, 20-year-old Jacqueline Saleh, and seriously injured his sister-in-law Alma Alvizo.
“I want to apologize to my in-laws for causing all this emotional pain,” Ochoa said, strapped to the death chamber gurney and looking at several of his victims’ relatives who watched through a window a few feet from him. “I love y’all and consider y’all my sisters I never had. I want to thank you for forgiving me.”
As the lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital began, Ochoa closed his eyes and had no visible reaction.
Jonathan Duran, who watched Ochoa die, said he accepted Ochoa’s apology.
“I accepted the fact as a child, at 12 years old, when I buried my mother, my sisters, my aunt and my grandfather,” Duran said. “Nothing’s going to bring them back. It’s up to us to keep their memory alive, rebuild what we lost. I can’t ever replace my mother or my sisters.
“After 17 years, me, my family, .. the whole tree. We can finally say we got closure, we got justice. “
Ochoa was the second inmate put to death this year in Texas and the third in the U.S. Seven other executions are scheduled in the next few months in Texas, the nation’s busiest capital punishment state.
Ochoa’s trial attorneys had described him as a hard-working, law-abiding citizen whose life unraveled amid a 2½-year addiction to crack.