365 Days of Texas True Crime: Birthday Execution
In 2011 John Hummel, 45, was sentenced to death for the murders of his pregnant wife, his 5 year-old daughter and his father in-law. He killed them by sneaking back into the home they shared together after lying about going to work and beating them with a bat and stabbing them with a knife as they lay in their beds. He then set their home on fire in an effort to hide the evidence of what he had done. He was cheating on his wife at the time and he thought this was the only way to start his new life. In the aftermath of the fire Hummel was interviewed and told the police that he wasn’t home at the time, he said he was at a store and was even seen on surveillance video on the night in question. Hummel made an attempt to flee the country but was apprehended by police at the California-Mexico border. This time when he was interviewed he confessed to stabbing and beating his wife and then beating his little girl and father in-law.
Hummel made appeals, as most all those who find themselves on death row do. He has managed to dodge the needle for longer than anticipated however, today his time is up.
Last week the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas did seek to halt his execution again. For the first time in the history of Texas’s modern death penalty, reporters were denied the right to witness an execution that was carried out in May on Quintin Jones. Quinton Jones was a man from Livingston who bludgeoned his great aunt, 83 year-old Berthena Bryant, to death with a bat on September 11, 1999, for not giving him money for cocaine.
According to the TDCJ the incident was a mistake that will not be allowed to happen again. The ACLU of Texas feels that the governor should postpone Hummel’s execution for 30 days so that they can further address the problem.
As far as we know the governor has not been asked to postpone the execution and John William Hummel will proceed as scheduled. Hummel is set to face the needle today, my birthday, that is at least according to the tdcj.texas.gov website that lists death row information on scheduled executions. I did find one website however, that reported his execution as set for July 7th. I sent them an email to see where they got their information from so we shall see if maybe they know something we don’t know.
Texas normally leads the nation in executions however, it was forced to move Hummel’s from March to June and four other men’s executions were also halted because of public health concerns. There are only four other executions scheduled for 2021 in Texas.
John Ramirez’s execution was stopped two days before it was carried out back in January of 2017 and is now set for September 8th, 2021. Ramirez, 32, stabbed a man named Pablo Castro in Corpus Christi during a robbery in 2004. He wasn’t arrested until over three years later and was eventually convicted in 2009.
On September 13th, 1991, a day after being paroled for a separate crime, Rick Allen Rhoades broke into the home of brothers Charles Allen, 31, and Bradley Allen, 33. He attacked them with a steel bar and butcher knife while they slept in their beds, killing them and then stole money from the wallet of one of the men. He is set to be executed on September 28th, 2021.
Ruben Gutierrez along with Rene Garcia and Pedro Garcia Garza Jr., entered into the home/office of 85 year-old Escolastica Harrison in Brownsville and killed her for money they believed she was hiding in her home. Harrison was struck in the head with the intent of knocking her out but when she struggled she was repeatedly struck in the head multiple times with blows from fists and steel toe shoes, and stabbed multiple times in the head with a screwdrivers. He is set for execution on October 27th.
Bridget Townsend went missing from her home in Bandera County in January 2001 where she lived with her drug dealer boyfriend. She was 19 years old at the time. In October of 2002, Ramiro Gonzales, 26, had received two life sentences for the abduction and rape of another woman in Bandera County and was waiting to be transferred to prison when he asked to speak to someone about a woman who went missing the year before. Gonzales confesses to authorities that he robbed, raped and killed Bridget Townsend, he had broken in to the home of his drug dealer, Townsends boyfriend, and was looking to steal some cocaine when he encountered Bridget. He led authorities to her remains in a remote area of his family’s ranch in adjacent Medina County where he had lived at one time. Gonzales’s execution is scheduled for November 17th, 2021.