The Latest: Texas executes inmate for 2010 killing of woman

Texas executes man for killing a grandmother, 61, during a burglary in 2010 – despite arguing he shouldn’t be put to death because he has ‘fetal alcohol disorder’

  • Mark Anthony Soliz was convicted of shooting a 61-year-old grandmother to death as he and his accomplice burglarized her home in 2010
  • Nancy Weatherly begged for her life and pleaded that Soliz not take her deceased mother’s jewelry box before she was shot in the back of the head 
  • Soliz’s lawyers argued he suffered from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which left him with brain damage and should disqualify him from the death penalty 
  • 37-year-old Soliz was executed by lethal injection on Tuesday in Huntsville,Texas 
  • He was the 15th inmate in the United States and the sixth in Texas to be executed in 2019, according to the Death Penalty Information Center
  • Texas has executed more prisoners than any other state since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976

Mark Soliz was sentenced to death by lethal injection on Tuesday evening for the 2010 slaying of Nancy Weatherly during a robbery at her home near Godley, Texas

A Texas death row inmate has been executed for fatally shooting a 61-year-old grandmother at her North Texas home nearly a decade ago during an eight-day spate of crimes.

Mark Anthony Soliz received a lethal injection Tuesday evening at the state penitentiary in Huntsville.

The 37-year-old Soliz was condemned for the 2010 slaying of Nancy Weatherly during a robbery at her home near Godley.

Appeals courts had turned down requests by Soliz’s attorneys to stop the execution.

The lawyers had argued Soliz is intellectually disabled due to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder which would have disqualified him from the death penalty.

Prosecutors portrayed Soliz as a dangerous individual who killed Weatherly for a ‘pittance of property.’

Soliz was the 15th inmate put to death this year in the U.S. and the sixth in Texas.

Nine more executions are scheduled this year in Texas, the nation’s busiest capital punishment state.


Nancy Weatherly, a 61-year-old grandmother, was fatally shot at her North Texas home nearly a decade ago during an eight-day spate of crimes that included thefts and another killing

State and federal appeals courts and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles turned down requests by Soliz’s attorneys to stop his execution, with the most recent denial coming on Monday. His lawyers filed no other appeals, including to the U.S. Supreme Court, on Tuesday.

‘I have represented Mr. Soliz for many years. Every legal tool in my kit was deployed to prevent this execution. The hope endures, the fight goes on, and the cause never dies,’ Seth Kretzer, one of Soliz’s appellate attorneys, said in a statement.

Soliz’s lawyers had argued he suffered from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which left him with brain damage. His attorneys said the disorder is the ‘functional equivalent’ of conditions already recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as disqualifying exemptions to the death penalty, such as intellectual disability.

Soliz was the 15th inmate put to death this year in the U.S. It was the sixth execution in Texas and the second in as many weeks in the state. He is pictured here in 2012

Soliz attorneys attempted to avoid the death penalty by telling the judge that he suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome and should have his life spared

‘Our argument was the Supreme Court is extending that doctrine to fetal alcohol syndrome,’ Kretzer said.

Prosecutors portrayed Soliz as a dangerous individual who killed Weatherly for a ‘pittance of property.’

Kretzer had argued in court documents that heavy drinking by Soliz’s mother during her pregnancy resulted in numerous problems for the inmate, including impulsivity, learning difficulties, and an IQ of 75 that is ‘considered borderline impaired.’ 

An IQ of 70 or below is generally considered to be intellectually disabled.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, combined with a chaotic and troubled childhood that included living with drugs and prostitution, left Soliz entering ‘adult life ill-prepared,’ Kretzer wrote.


Signs of fetal alcohol syndrome are more apparent in an these early photos of Mark Anthony Soliz, experts testified during his trial

Jurors at his 2012 trial as well as previous appeals court rulings rejected Soliz’s claims that his actions were due to the impacts of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

At his trial, prosecutors said Soliz and another man, Jose Ramos, committed at least 13 crimes in the Fort Worth area over eight days in June 2010.

After fatally shooting a deliveryman around 6am on June 29, 2010, the duo later that morning drove in a stolen car to Weatherly’s home. 

Prosecutors say Soliz and Ramos forced their way into the home at gunpoint and ransacked the place, taking a television, cellphones and credit cards.

Prosecutors say Weatherly begged for her life and pleaded that Soliz not take her deceased mother’s jewelry box before she was shot in the back of the head.

Weatherly begged for her life and pleaded that Soliz not take her deceased mother’s jewelry box before she was shot in the back of the head.

A friend of Soliz’s told jurors Soliz had bragged to her about killing an ‘old lady’ in a house in Godley, had laughed about the incident and ridiculed the lady’s ‘country’ accent.

Police say Soliz confessed to killing Weatherly and ballistics and fingerprint evidence also tied him to the slaying.

Ramos was sentenced to life in prison for the deaths of Weatherly and the deliveryman, Ruben Martinez.

The Supreme Court in 2002 barred the execution of mentally disabled people but has given states some discretion to decide how to determine intellectual disability. However, justices have wrestled with how much discretion to allow.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office said in court documents filed earlier this month that the Supreme Court has not held that individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder are exempt from capital punishment and that Soliz has not presented an expert opinion stating he is intellectually disabled.

The attorney general’s office said in its motion with the 5th U.S. Circuit of Appeals that a Fort Worth police detective testified Soliz was ‘more sophisticated, calculated, and dangerous’ than his partner Ramos and that ‘Soliz was the most dangerous person with whom he had come into contact’ in his 16 years as a police officer.

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