“We believe Michael Gonzales is innocent:” Defense team wants Gonzales’s execution halted

Michael “Spider” Gonzales is set to be executed in 5 days for the murders of Manuel and Merced Aguirre in 1994. Friday, his lawyers will try one last time to halt his execution.
Michael Dean Gonzales
Michael Dean Gonzales
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 3:37 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2022 at 4:12 PM CST
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was written prior to learning of Gonzales’ stay of execution being granted Thursday afternoon

Friday, 28 years after he was sentenced to the death penalty, Michael Dean “Spider” Gonzales will ask a judge one last time to halt his execution.

Gonzales is scheduled to be executed in Huntsville on Tuesday for the murder of Merced and Manuel Aguirre on the evening of April 21, 1994.

His lawyers have asked for his execution date to be withdrawn, arguing Gonzales’s innocence.

The defense’s case lies on arguing that Gonzales has an emotional disability, prohibiting the death penalty from the 8th Amendment; Significant Official Misconduct, citing misconduct in the investigation by both the State and the prosecution; and actual innocence, claiming that Jesse Perkins, Daniel Lugo, and Julian Olivarez—who the police treated as suspects but never charged—committed the murders, not Michael Gonzales.

CBS7′s Mary Kate Hamilton spoke to Gonzales’s lead defense attorney Richard Burr, who believes they have a strong case.

“We think we have amassed a lot of evidence that Jesse Perkins is guilty and Michael Gonzales is not,” Burr said. “It coincides with all of the evidence that police developed within the case. The case against Michael was always pretty shaky, from a prosecution perspective. We think Michael Gonzales is innocent.”

Hamilton also spoke to Rick Aguirre, the son of Merced and Manuel yesterday. He told me his family is looking forward to this being over, and they hope the execution goes through as scheduled on Tuesday. He also told me that the family has never had a doubt that Michael Dean Gonzales murdered his parents, and that belief has not changed.

The hearing to halt the execution is set to begin Friday at 9:30 at the Ector County Courthouse. Judge John Shrode will hear the case. Mary Kate Hamilton will be at the courthouse tomorrow.

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