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Monday, July 24, 2000

MEDIA ADVISORY:

JUAN SORIA SCHEDULED TO BE EXECUTED

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Juan Soria who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 26th.

Juan Soria was convicted in Tarrant County, Texas and sentenced to death for the June 1985 murder of 17 year-old Allen Bolden, a recent graduate of Lamar High School in Arlington, Texas. The victim, who had been a competitive swimmer, gave swimming lessons at the Panther Boys Club in Fort Worth and also worked as a lifeguard at the Fort Worth Boys Club.

Allen Bolden was kidnapped in Fort Worth, struck with a rock, and then stabbed twice with a knife in the back of the head, resulting in his death. Soria and his accomplice, Mike Lagunas, then stole Bolden's car.

The series of crimes against Bolden began when Soria and Lagunas asked Bolden for a ride as he was leaving work. Bolden agreed. Once they were in the car, Lagunas put a gun to Bolden's head and told him to drive to an area under a bridge. There, Lagunas hit Bolden in the head with a rock and Soria stabbed Bolden twice in the back of the head, killing him. Following the murder, Soria and Lagunas picked up two of their friends and bragged about killing Bolden.

Soria was indicted in 1985 in Tarrant County on the offenses of murdering Allen Bolden while in the course of committing and attempting to commit robbery and kidnapping. A jury found Soria guilty of capital murder in June 1986.

On June 9th of this year, Juan Soria attacked a 78-year-old volunteer prison chaplain with a razor, attempting to cut the chaplain's arm off as he visited Soria in his cell. Soria cut the chaplain's wrist to the bone, severing the arteries and tendons. The chaplain underwent emergency surgery as a result of the attack.

EVIDENCE

  • In early June, Soria discussed with friends his plans to kill Bolden, whom he knew from the Fort Worth Boys Club. An initial attempt by Soria to carry out his plan the day before was aborted because, as Soria told a friend, he did not "know what to do with him" or "where to take him."

  • Soria and Lagunas bragged about killing Bolden shortly after the murder. Soria told friends, "We did it, man, we did it" and described stabbing Bolden.

  • Two days later, Soria was stopped for speeding by a highway patrolman outside of Del Rio, Texas and lied to police about his name and address. The patrolman, upon learning that the car was stolen, took Soria and the other occupants of the car to the county jail.

  • Bolden's body was found on July 1, 1985 based on information given to policy by Soria's friend, Mike Lagunas. The next day, Soria confessed to an Arlington police officer that he killed Allen Bolden, and the murder weapon was found in the seat of the car Soria had stolen from Bolden.

APPEALS TIME-LINE

  • June 8, 1994 - Court of Criminal Appeals reforms Soria's sentence to life in prison in a 5-4 opinion delivered eight years after his conviction.

  • Sept. 11, 1996 - Court of Criminal Appeals granted State's motion for rehearing. The Court of Criminal Appeals then reinstated Soria's death sentence.

  • Nov. 6, 1996 - Court of Criminal Appeals denies Soria's motion for rehearing.

  • June 2, 1997 - United States Supreme Court denies Soria's petition for writ of certiorari.

  • Aug. 4, 1997 - United States Supreme Court denies motion for rehearing.

  • July 31, 1998 - Trial court recommends that habeas relief be denied in reference to Soria's May 18, 1998 filing of application for state writ of habeas corpus.

  • Nov. 18, 1998 - Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with trial court and denied relief.

  • March 25, 1999 - District Court entered order denying habeas relief and entered order denying Soria permission to appeal.

  • March 16, 2000 - Fifth Circuit denied permission to appeal.

  • July 24, 2000 - Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles votes to deny 120 day reprieve and commutation to life sentence.

CRIMINAL HISTORY

  • Two months before murdering Allen Bolden, Soria burglarized a church and caused about $1,000 worth of damage.

  • While Soria was in jail awaiting trial, jailers found in his cell a self-portrait drawn by Soria which depicted him holding a bloody knife. Additionally, the jailers had discovered and confiscated a razor blade from Soria's jail cell.

  • A police officer testified during the punishment phase of Soria's trial that Soria had a reputation of not being a law-abiding citizen.

  • While Soria was in jail before his murder trial, he beat up another inmate with a broom he had hidden under his mattress.

SCHEDULED EXECUTIONS

  • 08/09/00 Brian Keith Roberson (Dallas County)
  • 08/09/00 Oliver David Cruz (Bexar County)
  • 08/16/00 John T. Satterwite (Bexar County)
  • 08/22/00 Richard Wayne Jones (Tarrant County)
  • 08/23/00 David Earl Gibbs (Montgomery County)
  • 08/30/00 Jeffery Caldwell (Dallas County)
  • 09/13/00 Miguel A. Richardson (Bexar County)
  • 10/04/00 Stacey Lamont Lawton (Smith County)
  • 11/01/00 Jeffrey Dilligham (Tarrant County)
  • 11/08/00 Gary Wayne Etheridge (Brazoria County)

MISCELLANEOUS

If this execution is carried out, it will be the 226th execution since executions resumed in Texas in December 1982 and the 62nd since Attorney General Cornyn took office.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050
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