It has been a little more than a four and a half years since the death of Corpus Christi Police Department Lt. Stuart Alexander.
The 20-year veteran of the force was struck and killed while trying to stop a truck with spike strips during a high-speed chase. The man responsible for his death, Daniel Lopez, is on death row, but now he has submitted an unusual request.
Lopez has formally asked that his execution date be expedited.
The handwritten motion from Daniel Lopez was filed directly with the 117th District Court. Also attached to the document were the results of a psychological evaluation that determined that he is competent and in his right mind to understand what he is asking for.
However, while Lopez is anxious for his execution, the district attorney says not so fast.
"Well a lot of people can try to waive certain standards they have to fulfill. The problem is, it doesn't happen automatic like that. What happens is he's only gone through the first step of a three-step process. His state's appeal has been held up. The next is the state's writ, and then the federal writ," District Attorney Mark Skurka said. "There are ways that he can waive those, but until they're waived and ruled on by a court, nothing can happen."
"I'm ready. Ain't no point in staying in here any longer. I'm in a, in a box. So I'm ready, right," Lopez said during an exclusive interview from inside death row back in 2011.
On Monday, he followed up on that desire with a handwritten motion to the court to expedite warrant of execution. In it, he writes that he has "voluntarily waived his appeal," that he passed his "competency evaluation," and that his "sentence should be carried out in a speedy manner," to finally punish him for his crime, so that the "victim's family can finally see justice and have closure in their life."
Lopez added that he wants to stop wasting the $27,000 a year it costs to keep him in prison.
While waiving his rights to the normal appeal process will speed up his execution date, it won't be happening any time soon. Still, the head of the Police Officers Association welcomes Lopez' request.
"I feel that, if this is something that he wants to move forward with, I ask that the court would grant him this and that justice be served," said Scott Leaton, president of the Police Officers Association.
If Lopez continues to waive his appeals, the case will be expedited somewhat. Normally, it takes 10-12 years before someone sentenced to death is executed. For Lopez, it could take five or six years.
Lopez has been in prison since 2010, and is among four Nueces County men waiting for their execution dates on the Texas death row.
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