View Full Version : Leonard Rojas TX RIP

12-04-2002, 08:07 PM
Man who killed wife, brother executed
Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE - A South Texas man who confessed to killing his common-law wife and brother, whom he suspected of having an affair, was executed today.

Leonard Rojas, 52, was asked by the warden if he had a final statement. Rojas, wearing a white collared shirt that partially exposed his chest, responded "No." As the lethal drugs began flowing, Rojas' eyes blinked and he pursed his lips. He took two deeps breaths, then his mouth fell open and his eyes shut tightly. He was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m. CST, eight minutes after receiving the lethal injection.

Three of Rojas' seven surviving brothers watched the execution. Rojas' cousin, Maria Rojas, stood at the window looking into the death chamber. Soon after Rojas took his final gasp, she whispered "He's gone."

Leonard Rojas said recently he had no regrets about shooting Jo Ann Reed between the eyes after having one last sexual encounter with her and then turning the gun on his younger brother David Rojas. "I'll never regret it. Never," he said of the 1994 killings. "These people, they were just basically evil. They just wanted my money, wanted my drugs and they wanted to do me in."

Rojas, who had spent time in prison in California and Nevada for drug convictions, claimed the two were having an affair and attempting to drug him to death. Those claims never were proven, said Johnson County assistant district attorney David Vernon. "Leonard was an extremely possessive type of person," Vernon said. "He confronted her about having sex with his brother and she laughs at him."

Rojas said he recalled seeing his wife leave his brother's room that morning. "'You can't prove nothing, Leo,'" Rojas recalled her saying. "They just put me in the corner and I just snapped."

Rojas said he used a 32-caiber gun he got in exchange for cocaine to shoot his 34-year-old wife, then his 43-year-old brother. The slayings took place in the mobile home the trio shared in Alvarado, near Forth Worth. "I just said no more abuse from these people," Rojas said. "The alternative I came out with was to get even with them."

After the killing, Vernon said Rojas drank some coffee, talked on the phone and then decided to leave. He bought a bus ticket from Fort Worth to Atlanta, Ga., making it as far as Dallas before he came across some security guards and decided to confess. "My heart was beating and my brain was like fried after all these incidents," Rojas said.

Vernon doesn't know why Rojas confessed. His only guess is that Rojas' drug use could have made him paranoid. "It would have taken us years to find him if he had gotten on that bus and taken off," Vernon said. Instead, Johnson County prosecutors ended up with three confessions, one of which was videotaped as Rojas led Texas Ranger George Turner and a sheriff's deputy through the mobile home describing the killings. The videotape confession "became Exhibit A," Turner said. "He was the first one that I had ever had walk me through a crime scene on video," Turner said.

Rojas was sentenced to death in 1996. Vernon said prosecutors didn't have to do much to get the conviction. "I'm guilty. I'm a sinner. I'm ready to go if they're going to kill me," Rojas said last month.

Rojas was the 32nd person executed in Texas this year, bringing the total to 288 since Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1982. The execution set for next Wednesday of James Collier, condemned for the 1995 shooting deaths of a Wichita Falls mother and her son, is the final execution scheduled for 2002.

At least 13 executions are scheduled in the first three months of 2003.

Rojas had said he was prepared to die in the month leading up to his execution. "At least he's not crying about it," said Turner, the Texas Ranger who took his confession. "He is stepping up to the plate like he always did. He was a pretty pleasant ol' boy -- the crime aside."

12-04-2002, 08:22 PM
God bless Leonard Rojas, and those he hurt.

12-05-2002, 07:20 AM
I personally believe that this execution was a political one to show that the Texas Defender Service who just put out their new report that they can say and prove all they want, Texas will kill whoever they want.

By the way, I would like to know how a person who has never had any legal problems, no convictions but snaps one night when confronted with the infedelity of his wife with his brother, then turns himself in can be a future danger to society?

This one I relate to more personally. I remember when my husband and the next door neighbor's wife came back from a weekend at the beach and told me that he quite and he didn't love me any more, I remember the feelings. Two days later I was able to "confront" the bitch (sorry for the language) and I still remember as if it was yesterday when I was in her face and it dawned on me I wanted to kill her and that at that moment I had it in me. ME!! I stepped back and was more afraid of the feeling that I was able to have killed someone stunned me more than anything. I walked away in mid-sentence, went to the Chapal on base, asked to talk to a priest for a confession, went into his office, told him of my feelings and what I said and almost did. He asked me if I was able to forgive.... I looked at him and said no, then walked out, left the next day and never went back.

This man should have never been sentenced to death. He killed his brother, yet his family was there when he was executed. What does that say for the family? Alot can be said by actions alone.

12-05-2002, 12:37 PM
My mother used to write and visit some prisoners. This is something she told me when I was a little girl. She met a guy who was in an open prison and coming towards the end of his sentence. He had killed his wife after finding her in bed with someone. My mum truly believed this guy had repented. But she did reconise that there is no excuse to kill as did this guy. Now I am not saying I agree with her, but I guess if you kill someone in a rage its murder but ot 1st degree ie shouldnt be elligable for the DP. I think LWOP would be fair in my eyes.
Joy I think its very difficult for family members to be there if they kill someone in their own family. Personally if someone in my family killed someone I loved I am not sure I would be there for them, but I guess they have to try. I do not believe infidelity is a reason for murder. Maybe the difference between the guy my mum visisted and the guy executed was he actually was sorry for what he done, this guy isnt one bit sorry, someone with a mind like that should remain in prison and yes is a danger.
But my deepest reguards with the wifes family and the inmate/his brothers family it must be terrible to have one family member killed by another.
Take Care

12-05-2002, 09:23 PM
Ok- we as a people should not deliberately go out and kill other people. (of course not) Meaning, if we do, we could be killed by the state. However, the state is allowed to kill people, because those people kill people. So, don't kill people because that is wrong, but the state can cuz that isn't wrong. Does that make sense? Not to me either. I am definitely not saying killing is ok, cuz it is DEFINITELY not. However, if "the people" aren't supposed to do it, shouldn't the state follow it's own rules?
Oh, and here is something I have thought alot about. How many people out there are PRO LIFE, but yet, support the death penalty? I bet alot.

Phil in Paris
12-05-2002, 09:51 PM
Jeni, you're great !!!!! :)

12-05-2002, 09:53 PM
Awww shucks! Thanks Phil! You are too! :)

12-06-2002, 05:07 AM
Caroline, I could be wrong, but I believe that ONE of the flaws in "texas justice" is that there is no option of LWOP. The jury has the option of DP or LWP. Recently, there was a bill introduced that would have changed it, but it was not passed. Does anyone else remember this?

12-06-2002, 07:39 AM
I think your totally right. In a murder case LWOP should always be an option. I would have to say I wouldnt like to sentence someone knowing they could get life with parole then LWOP. I am in a situation where in our case the man will get parole and I think thats wrong. I personally believe 1st degree murder in nearly all cases should at least be LWOP.
I have to say Jeni my brother and father are pro DP and both believe its a womans right to choose on abortions thats their beliefs. I think abortion and DP are different matters. Morally different again. The question on abortion is on when life begins so is it murder or not? Some believe it is a murder of an innocent others believe life hasnt begun. The fact is these killers, killed someone I really wish people would remember that.
I do find it difficult to say to MVS who want to see the killer executed "you are wrong" maybe be for them its very right. But in this case here its a family member killing another I am not sure how a family deal with that must be very hard for them.
Whether your a pro or anti DP, LWOP should always be in my book be an option, whether the alternatives are life or death.
Take Care

12-08-2002, 12:58 PM
does someone know why that bill was not passed or where i can find that reason???

12-08-2002, 07:51 PM
Caroline, yea, I guess that is the main issue when it comes to abortion-whether a baby is actually a "baby" at that time. And, I am not necessarily for the DP, but yet I am pro choice-so I guess I just blew my statement above RIGHT out of the water!
I can't believe that Texas doesn't give the LWOP option! I never knew that! I can't even begin to understand what MVS go through-but I used to think that giving an option of LWOP was just normal! I am stunned by that!

12-09-2002, 03:29 AM
texas keeps on pissing me off and i get more and more afraid of them coz nomatter what, they are gonna kill my friend! texas doesnt listen to anything or anyone!

05-31-2011, 11:59 AM
For all of those who don't know all, Leonard was given an opportunity in September 1995 to plead guilty and get a life sentence. Jo Reed's family was in agreement with this. After 2 hours of waiting on that day in September, Leonard then at the last minute changed his mind and said he wanted a trial, that he wanted the truth to come out. This little fact doesn't seem to come up anywhere or in any of the articles I have collected on the case.

06-01-2011, 04:04 PM

First welcome to PTO in regards to your post this thread is almost 10 years old. Leonard Rojas was executed in December 2002 so I'm trying to understand your point in posting how he had a oppurtunity to accept a plea agreement of LWOP?

06-01-2011, 04:19 PM
Just found this site. That is the reason for the delay. I hadn't visited this topic in years until I was reorganizing some stuff at home.

I had read a lot of articles about how he didn't get justice for one reason or another. Just had to get it off my mind.

06-01-2011, 09:33 PM
Ok again welcome to PTO please keep in mind our community purpose when posting:)