Monday, June 26, 2000
JESSY CARLOS SAN MIGUEL SCHEDULED TO BE EXECUTED
AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on
Jessy Carlos San Miguel who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m., Thursday, June 29th.
In January of 1991, Jessy Carlos San Miguel was convicted for the capital murder of Michael
Phelan. San Miguel shot Phelan and three other people while robbing a Taco Bell in Irving.
Michael Phelan was shot twice, once in the back of the head. The second victim, Son Nguyen
was shot in the shoulder. The bullet entered his neck and exited near his nose. A third victim,
Frank Fraga was shot twice in the back of the head. The final victim, Theresa Fraga, who was
pregnant, was also shot twice in the back of the head. The victims' bodies were found in a
walk in refrigerator at the Taco Bell.
In June 1991, a jury sentenced San Miguel to death.
- When police arrested San Miguel during a traffic stop early on the morning of
Jan. 26, 1991, they found bundles of money stuffed in a paper Taco Bell bag. Police
also found two ski masks, two pairs of gloves, and a nine millimeter automatic pistol
which was empty, except for one bullet. The gun smelled like it had been fired
- The bullets found in the victim's bodies matched the gun found in San Miguel's car.
- San Miguel's shoes and shirt had human blood on them.
- After his arrest, San Miguel gave a statement to police, admitting that he robbed the
Taco Bell and that he had personally killed the four victims. Two days after giving
that statement, San Miguel gave another, similar confession to police.
COURT APPEALS TIMELINE
- Automatic appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which affirmed on May 26, 1993.
- United States Supreme Court denied certiorari review on March 21, 1994.
- Oct. 7, 1996 - San Miguel filed an application for state habeas corpus relief and
an amended application on June 20, 1997. The trial court entered findings of fact
and conclusions of law recommending that habeas relief be denied. Adopting some findings
and rejecting others, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied habeas relief based on the
remaining findings and the Court's own review on Nov. 5, 1997.
- May 26, 1998 - San Miguel filed a petition for habeas relief in federal district.
- May 11, 1999 - District Court entered a final judgement denying relief.
- Feb. 2, 2000 - San Miguel's request for permission to appeal was denied by the
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY
- During the punishment phase, a student who went to school with San Miguel testified
that he was on crutches when San Miguel threatened him with a knife and then later
knocked him out with a punch (breaking some teeth). San Miguel thought the student
had slighted San Miguel's girlfriend.
- Another student testified about one night when he went to a location where San
Miguel and another student were supposed to have a fight. When the other student
did not show up, the testifying student attempted to start a fight with San Miguel, who
then pulled out a pistol and shot him in the stomach.
- A third student, Mitchell McDearman, was another friend of San Miguel's in school
and testified to seeing San Miguel in 18 fights, mostly started by San Miguel. He was
also a witness when San Miguel shot the student in the stomach.
- A fourth student testified that he was at a party sitting next to San Miguel's wife and
another girl when San Miguel grabbed him, shook him, asked what he was doing
messing around with his wife, and threatened to kill him. When the student got
home, he found nine or 10 bullet holes in the wall of his bedroom. A neighbor
testified that he saw a truck similar to San Miguel's drive by at the time of the
shooting. An investigating officer located San Miguel's truck and observed inside a
spent .22 long rifle shell of the same variety as spent shells found near the student's
house. While talking to San Miguel and his wife in their apartment, the officer
observed a holster for a .22 long rifle pistol, an empty magazine for an M-16 or AR-15 assault rifle, and ammunition for three or four different types of weapons,
including the type of ammunition used in the shooting of the house.
- A fifth student, Adam Alvarez, was a friend of San Miguel's in school and testified
that he went with San Miguel during the shooting of the house and that San Miguel
and another student fired shots into the house with an automatic rifle and a pistol. He
also talked about personally seeing San Miguel in nine fights in high school. He
testified that San Miguel started a lot of the fights, that he enjoyed his reputation, and
that no one picked on him. San Miguel also admitted to him to breaking into houses,
mostly to steal weapons. Finally, San Miguel told him that, "if he ever got caught, he
wanted to go down for something everybody knew about or something big."
- An Irving police officer testified that he arrested San Miguel for unlawfully carrying a
weapon in 1989, when San Miguel was stopped for speeding and had a revolver with
an eight-inch barrel under his seat.
- Another officer testified that in 1989 San Miguel signed a statement confessing to
stealing a BMW, using it for a night, and then leaving it near his apartment. Because
San Miguel got the keys to the car from a member of the complainant's household,
the charges were reduced to a misdemeanor and San Miguel received one-year
- An officer who arrested San Miguel for burglary of a house, testified that he found a
stolen shotgun and two pistols in San Miguel's room upon his arrest. Several
witnesses testified that items found in San Miguel's apartment had been taken when
their homes were burglarized.
- Another officer who pulled San Miguel over for failure to maintain a single lane
testified that he arrested San Miguel on that occasion for possession of an illegally
sawed off shotgun.
- An Irving officer, who was once called out to a disturbance between two groups of
males, arrested San Miguel for possessing illegal brass knuckles. San Miguel was
standing with members of the Always Violent Boys gang.
- A security guard at a Mervyn's store where San Miguel worked testified that, after
San Miguel was caught improperly using his employee discount to purchase items for
third parties, San Miguel confessed to also stealing between $800 and $1,000 in
merchandise. Though he signed a promissory note to repay the store, he never paid
- Two officers at the jail where San Miguel was held, testified to an occasion when San
Miguel refused to leave the recreation room and return to his cell. When the officers
entered the room to get San Miguel, he struck one officer in the mouth and continued
to try to hit them as they carried him back to his cell. One officer noted another
occasion when he was serving the inmates burritos and San Miguel made the
statement: "The only reason why I killed those people is they couldn't make good
07/12/00 Orien Cecil Joiner (Lubbock County)
07/12/00 Caruthers Alexander (Bexar County)
07/26/00 Juan Soria (Tarrant County)
08/09/00 Oliver David Cruz (Bexar County)
08/16/00 John Satterwhite (Bexar County)
08/22/00 Richard Wayne Jones (Tarrant County)
If this execution is carried out, it will be the 223rd execution since executions resumed in
Texas in 1982, and the 59th since Attorney General Cornyn took office.
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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050