Oral arguments will be heard today in the appeal of convicted child killer John Allen Rubio.
The state, represented by Cameron County Assistant District Attorneys L.J. Rabb and Michael Bloch, will argue why a jury’s capital murder conviction of Rubio in 2010 should be upheld.
Defense attorneys William L. Hubbard of McAllen and David A. Schulman of Austin will argue why the conviction should be overturned.
Today’s hearing is at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin.
A Hidalgo County jury in July 2010 convicted Rubio of four counts of capital murder for the 2003 slayings of his common-law wife’s three children, Julissa Quesada, 3, John Esteban Rubio, 14 months, and Mary Jane Rubio, 2 months. Rubio is the biological father of one of the children.
The children were smothered, stabbed and mutilated, according to Brownsville police investigators. Their decapitated bodies were stuffed inside trash bags that were found near a bedroom door.
Rubio was first convicted in 2003 on the charges, but the conviction was overturned. He was given a new trial in 2010 and again was convicted.
Rubio, 31, of Brownsville, will not be at today’s hearing. He remains on death row at the Allan B. Polunsky Unit in West Livingston.
At his trial in July 2010, Rubio pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. According to a confession made to police, he admitted to killing his children because he believed they harbored an evil presence. He asked one of the officers who arrived at the crime scene to arrest him, according to the officer’s statement.
Rubio was sentenced to death, which means there is an automatic appeal.
Although the murders occurred in Cameron County, the 2010 trial was transferred to Hidalgo County because of extensive pretrial publicity. The case was heard before 370th state District Judge Noe Gonzalez.
At today’s hearing, attorneys for each side will get 20 minutes to argue their case before nine justices. It is not known how long it will take for the Criminal Court of Appeals to issue its opinion, officials said.
When the previous verdict was overturned, the appellate court cited the prosecution’s use in the trial of videotaped testimony from Rubio’s common-law wife, Angela Camacho.
Camacho, who refused to testify in Rubio’s trial, did not have an attorney present when she gave the videotaped testimony to police. Also, Rubio’s defense attorneys claimed they were at a disadvantage because they were not able to challenge the taped testimony.
In July 2005, Camacho, 32, pleaded guilty to three counts of capital murder in the deaths of her children. Authorities said she gave to Rubio the knife that he used to behead the children. She also was accused of holding down the children while they were killed. She is serving three life sentences at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville.
Oral arguments in the first appeal were given on Nov. 9, 2005. The court issued its opinion on Sept. 12, 2007.