Man convicted of murdering three children sentenced to death requesting execution
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A man who confessed to suffocating, stabbing and beheading his common-law wife’s three young children was sentenced to death Friday after telling a judge he wanted to be executed.
Jurors sentenced John Allen Rubio to death by injection a day after convicting him of three counts of capital murder, one for each of the children he admitted killing on March 11.
Rubio, 23, and his common-law wife, Angela Camacho, told police they killed 3-year-old Julissa Quezada, 1-year-old John Esthefan Rubio and 2-month-old Mary Jane Rubio because they thought the children were possessed and they didn’t want them to grow up evil.
Camacho, 23, is awaiting a hearing on whether she is mentally competent to stand trial.
Rubio and his attorney delivered the request for the death penalty moments after prosecutors began their opening statements in the penalty phase of the trial.
“Do you understand what you are asking for?” State District Judge Robert Garza asked Rubio.
“Yes sir,” Rubio responded.
Alfredo Padilla asked his client, “Is it your belief that God has forgiven you and you want to be with your children in heaven?” Rubio agreed.
Although prosecutors also sought the death penalty, they said Rubio was just trying to play on jurors’ emotions.
“Do not give this man the answer that he wants because he asked for it,” prosecutor Paxton Warner said. “What he’s trying to do now is what he’s done his entire life; he is trying to prey on you and prey on your emotions. This is not about remorse, ladies and gentlemen, once again this is all about him.”
Rubio could have received life in prison.
During the trial, Rubio’s attorneys said he came from a background of poverty, substance abuse and witchcraft, and argued that he was legally insane at the time the children were killed.
While Rubio was diagnosed as a child with emotional problems, prosecutor Karen Betancourt said he had no history of mental illness, and that there was abundant evidence that Rubio knew what he had done was wrong.
Prosecutors suggested it was an overall life of depravity, including prostitution, drugs and a filthy apartment, that led to a decision to kill the children.
Mary Anderson, a psychiatrist who was a witness for the prosecution, said Rubio’s inhalation of spray paint over time may have created a psychotic state, but she added that he knew his actions were wrong.