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Not in My Name

...but they're dead just the same...

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#196 - Carlos Santana - TX - 3/23/1993

He never denied his involvement in the murder, though from what I can find?  He wasn’t the one who killed Flores, Meanes was.

Victim:  Oliver Flores (29)         4/21/1981

Codefendant:  James Ronald Meanes – Sentenced to death.  Executed in 1998.

Source:  Houston Chronicle
Carlos Santana executed for killing guard
Associated Press
Tue 03/23/1993

HUNTSVILLE -- A Dominican Republic man was executed early today for killing a Houston armored truck guard during a robbery 12 years ago.

Carlos Santana, 40, was given lethal injection for the fatal shooting of guard Oliver Flores during an unsuccessful attempt to rob the truck of some $1.1 million.

"Love is the answer, not hatred," he said in a brief final statement. 

Then he turned his head to three friends who were witnesses, including his lawyer, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, and said: "I love you guys. I will see some of you in the state of heaven. Bye."

Santana was pronounced dead at 2:54 a.m. CST, four minutes after the lethal drugs began entering his arms.

Santana's execution came after state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, denied attempts by his attorneys to halt the punishment.

A late motion, which challenged the fairness of a clemency hearing, delayed the execution for nearly three hours while it worked its way through the federal courts. The Supreme Court, in its second decision in his case during the night, turned him down about 2:30 a.m.

Santana did not deny involvement in the robbery and killing, but said he was driven by despondency over the death of his mother in the Caribbean country and loss of his job in Houston.

In earlier last-day appeals, Santana's lawyers contended jurors were not allowed to consider that Santana had been abused as a child and that he had lived in great poverty. They also contended jury instructions were improper, his legal help was incompetent and that he wasn't told at the time of his arrest that he could contact the Dominican Republic consulate.

Santana's case attracted the attention of government officials in the Dominican Republic, who asked federal and Texas officials to spare Santana's life. A New York-based Committee to Save the Life of Carlos Santana sent a package containing some 500 form letters to Texas Gov. Ann Richards asking the execution be stopped.

In similar cases previously, Richards declined to grant such reprieves. 

Santana and an accomplice, James Meanes, were arrested shortly after the noontime robbery and shooting April 21, 1981 outside a Houston department store. Both were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. Meanes remains on death row although he has no execution date.

Source:  Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Name:  Carlos Santana
DOB:  10/10/1952

Executed:  3/23/1993

In June 1981, Santana was found to have been involved in an escape attempt from the Harris Co. Jail.  The escape attempt was aborted when a pistol, tear-gas canister, two homemade knives and a handcuff key were found in a maximum security cell.

Convicted in connection with the failed $1.1 million robbery of a Purolator Armored Inc. van and the killing of 29-year-old security guard Oliver Flores in Houston on April 21, 1981.  Testimony showed that Santana and accomplice James Ronald Meanes wore matching green military-like uniforms for a noon attack on the van in a department store parking lot in the 8500 block of the Gulf Freeway.  A second security guard who survived the attack said Flores was shot even though he had not gone for his gun.  Santana and Meanes were arrested shortly after the robbery in the 8900 block of Winkler.  Police found a getaway car parked nearby and recovered two weapons, two green jumpsuits and the money from the van.

Source:  Court docs

On April 21, 1981, around noon, an armored van driven by Olivero Flores, who was accompanied by Dorothy Wright, pulled into the Sage grocery store parking lot on the Gulf Freeway in Houston, Texas, to pick up a deposit.

As Flores exited the van and walked around to the front of the store, the petitioner, Ronald Meanes, who is African-American, and his co-defendant, Carlos Santana, who is Hispanic, exited a car parked near the front of the store and opened the trunk.

Wright, still in the back of the van, then heard a “black voice” tell Flores to halt in a loud, demanding tone.  Flores, who was carrying money bags in his left hand and had a weapon on his right hip, turned to face the men but made no move toward his weapon.  As Flores turned, two or three shots rang out, and Flores fell to the ground “flopping like a chicken.”  Although no one saw who shot Flores, it was determined that Flores was killed by a bullet from either a rifle or a pistol.

One of the men, armed with a pistol, then approached Flores, bent over him, and began firing shots at the van, about three seconds after the original shots.  The same voice that Wright heard tell Flores to halt screamed, “Bitch, open the door!” at Wright, who was still in the back of the armored van.

After more shots were fired at the van, the men broke the glass on the driver’s side of the van and Meanes entered the van.  Meanes then climbed over the driver’s seat to the passenger side, looked through the wire screen to the back of the truck where Wright was lying on the floor, poked a pistol through the screen, and said, with the same voice that she had heard before, “Get up bitch, right now or you’re dead.”

Wright then opened the back of the van and walked toward the store with her hands raised.  The two men then left in the van, with the man with the pistol as the passenger.

Source:  murderpedia.org

A foiled robbery attempt of a Puralator Armored Van left one person dead and several witnesses in shock. The victim was Oliver Flores, a 29-year-old security guard who worked for the company. He was shot in broad daylight while he sat in the van after making a stop in front of a Houston department store.

The suspects were Carlos Santana, a 21-year-old mechanic from the Dominican Republic and James Meanes, a 24-year-old unemployed Houston man. 

Witnesses say that it was like a scene out of a movie. Two men in olive jumpsuits and baseball caps parked a blue car with no license plates in a handicapped space. They approached the van and started firing. After killing Flores, the two men bashed in the window of the van and ordered a female guard out of the van. She escaped the incident without injury. 

Police say that Santana and Meanes planned the heist very well. 

Police soon found the stolen van, however, the $1.1 million was missing. The men knew they needed a place to hide the stolen van. They were even equipped with a portable police radio scanner to keep tabs on the entire situation. During the chase, several eyewitnesses helped lead police to the suspects. They were first directed towards a metal shed in a wooded area in 9000 block of Carsondale. Det. Gene Sharp found the empty van inside.

Police searched the area and found several white cotton bags of cash that the robbers tried to hide. Another eyewitness explained to officers that he heard two men near his place of business. A helicopter was used to comb through the field that was nearby. The chase lasted about an hour after which, the suspects were arrested.

Carlos Santana and James Meanes were convicted and sentenced to death. Santana never denied involvement in the heist and killing, but mentioned that he was distraught over the death of his mother. Santana’s lawyers claimed that in addition to his emotional state, he was not notified that he could receive counsel from the Dominican Republic.

Santana’s native country established a New York-based committee called “Save the Life of Carlos Santana” in hopes of stopping the execution. The committee sent more than 500 letters to Gov. Ann Richards, but she could not be persuaded. 

The execution was delayed for nearly three hours due to a late motion, which challenged the fairness of a clemency hearing. The Supreme Court turned Santana down at about 2:30 a.m. 

Santana requested “Justice, Temperance, with Mercy” as his last meal. His last words were “Love is the answer, not hatred.” He also turned to his lawyer, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, and said, “I love you guys. I will see some of you in the state of heaven. Bye.” Carlos Santana, 40, was pronounced dead at 2:54 a.m., March 23, 1993. He was the first person to die that year and the 55th in Texas since reinstating the death penalty in 1976.