Adriana Marines

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Adriana Marines (1992 – September 27, 1997), was a Mexican-American girl who was murdered in her Texas home. Her death sparked wide media attention both locally and nationwide.[citation needed]

Murder victim[edit]

On the afternoon of September 27, 1997, Marines' uncle, Narciso Cuellar, allegedly went to his girlfriend's house and turned violent, striking the woman various times. Upon learning about the beating that Cuellar supposedly administered to his mother, John Richard Baltazar, also known plainly as John Baltazar, armed himself with a gun and sought out his friend, Johnny Gonzalez. The pair of friends, according to police records, went to the Marineses' home and shot Narciso Cuellar to avenge the abuse he had allegedly administered to Baltazar's mother.

Narciso Cuellar usually lay down or slept at that porch bed, but that night, he was not in the house. Adriana Marines and her cousin Vanessa were using the bed to watch a video of Sleeping Beauty instead. Baltazar arrived and, according to his own admission, he began shooting in the dark, as the house's lights had apparently been turned off. Some reports point out that Baltazar aggressively kicked down the Marines' home's front door before starting to shoot. He struck Adriana Marines twice, and her cousin Vanessa once, in her chest. Vanessa Marines was able to survive, but never fully recovered from her chest wound as the bullet had to be left there by doctors, and it seemed to be moving towards her vertebrae, with the medics that have attended her since hoping that it can be removed later on. Adriana Marines, meanwhile, died instantly. Her parents Arturo and Matilda were also shot but they survived.

Aftermath[edit]

John Richard Baltazar and Johnny Gonzalez were arrested and Baltazar was sentenced to death by lethal injection in March 1998. Johnny Gonzalez, meanwhile, was sentenced to 80 years in jail for his apparent role in the crime and can apply for parole in 2037.

The convictions resulted in a wide controversy, as groups of activists against death row convictions[clarification needed] and also advocates of the same sentence confronted each other, with the case once again making headline news in the state of Texas. In September 1999, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld Baltazar's status as a death row member, and several other appeals were also denied.

Baltazar expressed regrets for Adriana Marines' death, saying that "(He was) sorry for Adriana", and adding that "There's no words for (him) to say how sorry (he was) for the little girl". He did not, however, express any regrets in trying to kill Adriana Marines' uncle Cuellar, stating that "(he's) never been very good with controlling (his) anger, but if Ted were to beat (his) mom again, (he) would try and [sic] go whip on him again." Baltazar did not show remorse for shooting Adriana's father Arturo either, pronouncing that "He jumped up and he was in (John Richard's) face. That's why he got shot."

On January 15, 2003, and under the blitz of much media coverage, John Richard Baltazar was given a lethal injection for the death of Adriana Marines. He did not say any final statements, choosing to salute the Marines family by waving his head at them instead of asking to be forgiven.

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