Texas 7 – How A Group of Wild Criminals Escaped Prison and Went On Insane Crime Spree


The year is 2000 and the date is December
13. Seven men at a maximum security prison in
Texas are just about to perform an audacious, if not brazen, prison escape. They are dangerous men, and between them they
are sentenced to hundreds of years. They are not prepared to do their time. In the words of the ringleader of the gang,
George Rivas, “I had no parole. I had no good time. I had no incentive to behave. The minimum amount of time I had was 270 years
and obviously I couldn’t do that.” He hand-picked his team and what would follow
is an escape and a subsequent bloody crime spree. This is the story of the Tex as Seven. Before we describe how these men managed to
get out of a maximum security prison and tell you about the horrors of what happened after
they got out, let’s first introduce the team. We have that ringleader, George Rivas, and
you know he was never going to get out of prison. He was serving 18 consecutive 15-to-life sentences
for robbery. That might seem like a lot of time for this
crime, but he was convicted of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and burglary. It’s said he picked his team knowing he
was more intelligent than them, but also because he knew they were dangerous men. Then we have Joseph Garcia, who was serving
life for killing a man in a drunken altercation. Randy Halprin was doing time for badly beating
a baby. He got 30 years. Larry Harper was serving 50 years for rape
and acts of voyeurism. Patrick Murphy had 50 years to serve for aggravated
assault, a particularly nasty crime against a woman. Donald Newbury was in for aggravated robbery
with a deadly weapon and Michael Rodriguez was serving 99-years to life for hiring a
man to kill his wife. These are the Texas seven. Rivas picked the team, and at some point the
men began meeting at the John B. Connally Unit at the prison. Getting out of such a place was not going
to be easy, and some believe the men hatched their plan over perhaps an entire year. On the day of the escape, just before lunch,
the guards at the maintenance area sent the prisoners off for their chow. The guards then went for their lunch. Only Rivas, Garcia, Halprin, Harper, and Newbury
were left in the maintenance area because they had managed to convince the maintenance
supervisor that they had to wax the floors there. They told him that they would take lunch in
this area. The supervisor said fair enough, but he would
have to stay behind with them. Murphy, working in another area, asked to
join the crew and he was given the green light. As for the last of the group, Rodriguez, he
managed to join the crew after lying to the guards that he had been told he had to pick
up trash there. He wasn’t initially part of the escape plan,
but he became so. The men were all together just as they had
planned. They then told the supervisor to follow them
to a warehouse where they needed something. There they got him down on the ground, stole
his clothes, and left him tied up in a small electrical room. The crew found more clothes, but more importantly
they got the keys to the room where the tools were stored. In that room they managed to get their hands
of two hacksaws, a bolt cutter, wire-cutting pliers, and a utility knife. Over the next two hours they would get more
clothes and things they needed after subduing two prison guards as well as other inmates. Some of those hostages would get out of their
restraints, but the gang would make sure they couldn’t get out of the room they had been
tied up in. With the clothes they had stolen the gang
could now pretend to be supervisors, and that they did. They could also make sure the head count was
right, although they were of course missing. Around this time things could have gone wrong
because one of the hostages in that room set the fire alarm off, but it was taken as a
false alarm. The men in disguise then approached the gate,
where heavily armed guards were. They told the guards they had a job to do,
and that was to install video cameras. The guards let them through the gate, and
importantly did not ask for any ID. They came upon another guard at a gatehouse,
and this one did ask for ID. But then the gang had been clever, because
they had left one guy in the maintenance department. That guy actually called the gatehouse to
ask if the men had turned up to install the video cameras. After this, the men subdued this guard and
tied him up. Meanwhile Halprin had gained access to one
of the towers, where an armed guard was stationed. Halprin later said in interviews that this
guard had a lot of weapons on him, so he quickly lunged to grab one of his guns and pointed
it at him. He then ordered the guard to open the vehicle
gate. After that he gained entrance to the armory,
and he would take a lot of weapons from there. The stash of weapons included a 12-gauge Remington
pump-action shotgun with fourteen rounds of ammunition, fourteen .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson
revolvers with a total of 210 rounds and a .223-caliber AR-15 assault rifle with fifteen
rounds. Now these guys were certainly very dangerous. The entire gang left the prison with all these
weapons in a stolen truck. After they were well out of sight of the prison
one of the tied-up guards got loose and reported the escape. So, now we have seven criminals with histories
of violence let loose in Texas, and worse, they are armed to the teeth. The authorities put word out that very dangerous
criminals were driving around and they were heavily armed. The manhunt was on, but nothing was going
to be easy for the authorities. At the same time the guards found three letters
left by the gang, with some of those letters decrying the harsh conditions inside. One of the letters said, “You haven’t heard
the last of us, yet…” The authorities would take this as a threat,
although the writer of that letter would later say that was not the case at all. The men now have weapons, but they don’t
have much money. They do what they know best, and that’s
steal cash. At a Radio Shack store they first take a look
around but then go back just before closing time. There are still some customers there and four
employees in total, all of whom are subdued. What’s strange is the hostages said the
gang were very friendly. Later in interviews this gang said throughout
the entire ordeal they tried their best not to hurt anyone, but as you will see, that
certainly did not happen. We should also state that during the hostage
taking in the prison people were held at knifepoint and also hit over the head or punched in the
face. They stole thousands of dollars from the store,
as well as electrical equipment which included walkie-talkies and police scanners. The team then headed to Dallas, knowing full
well that the police would think they were headed to the Mexican border. The group now had money, but they wanted more. On Christmas Eve they decided to rob an Oshman’s
Sporting Goods store in Irving, Dallas County. They got into the store, bound and gagged
the staff, and it’s said stole thousands of dollars as well as more than 40 different
guns and lots of ammunition. But while this was going on an employee was
outside the store and he noticed something strange. He called the cops and 29-year police officer
Aubrey Wright Hawkins turned up. Almost immediately he came under fire. The officer was shot at different angles by
perhaps three of the men. Because they were firing from different sides
of the car, at least one of the crew was hit. The officer was shot 11 times, with many of
the bullets entering his head. He was then run over three times and left
for dead. He actually died later in hospital. The officer was married and had a son, and
he was expected to celebrate Christmas with his family the next day. Later in an interview his mother would say
that his son said all he wanted for Christmas was his father back. The gang then fled in their motorhome which
was now packed with cash and guns. They’d even made a gun rack for their many
weapons. They later parked this at a Christian community
and posed as missionaries, saying they were doing the word of God. This was all a lie, except one of the men,
Larry Harper, did attend bible class and seemed to get into it. In interviews the other people living on this
kind of commune said the men seemed pretty normal, and Larry was welcomed to the classes. But as time went by the men couldn’t hide. It was Rivas that was first spotted, because
someone noticed his face and the fact he had a twitch. The police were called but at first thought
it just couldn’t be the gang because no way would they have been stupid enough to
stick together. Police soon knew they had their men and believed
there could be one huge gun fight, but that didn’t happen. First, Garcia, Rodriguez, and Rivas were arrested
while driving around in a Jeep. After that, police went back to the park to
get the other men and there they found Halprin and Harper. The former gave himself up, but Harper put
a gun to his head and killed himself. He left the bible open next to him on a page
about forgiveness. He also left a letter, apologizing to his
family and the bible group he had deceived. The remaining two men, Newbury and Murphy,
hid out through most of January and then told the authorities that they would hand themselves
in if they could make a TV appearance. The authorities agreed, and the two men went
on TV and denounced the criminal justice system. They said, “the system is as corrupt as
we are.” Newbury told the camera, “The way I see
it is I had to make a statement. Our judicial system in the state of Texas
has really gone to pits. We’re receiving 99 years for a robbery for
$68, nobody injured.” He said he’d been set up, that the evidence
was flimsy at best, and he got 99 years. He added, “I’ve done crime — you’ve got
to face the music. But there’s got to be something within reason
in the state of Texas. They’re giving kids so much time that they
will never get to see light again. Their life is gone. Now all they are is a roach in a cage.” These words wouldn’t save him. The authorities and the public had seen how
these men had killed a young father on Christmas Eve. People were furious. The men were sentenced to death. In 2008, Rodriguez was the first to go, having
said he didn’t want to appeal further. In 2012, the ringleader Rivas was next to
go. Before he was executed he said this to the
family of the slain police officer, “I do apologize for everything that happened, not
because I am here, but for closure in your hearts. I am ready to go.” Newbury was executed in 2015 and Garcia was
executed in 2018. Halprin and Murphy are still imprisoned, with
Murphy being the only one of the two who has an execution date. He is scheduled to die by lethal injection
in November, so by the time you watch this show that might already have happened. The case of Halprin has caused much controversy. He had been scheduled to be executed but then
his trial judge was accused of racial discrimination. Halprin is Jewish, and the judge was said
to have used racial slurs against him and also said Jews, “needed to be shut down
because they controlled all the money.” The Washington Post wrote after that Halprin’s
attorneys had demanded a new trial. It got worse for the judge, according to The
Post, because other people called him a “lifelong racist” who had vented anger on many occasions
against lots of minorities in the USA. The newspaper wrote that this judge had even
set up a trust fund for his kids that they would get on the condition of them marrying
a straight, white, Christian person, spurring a lot of the American public to ask how this
man became a judge. With this in mind, asked Halprin’s attorneys,
how could any non-Christian, non-white person receive a fair trial. And that’s where the story of the Texas
Seven ends… for now. What we’d like to know is how do you feel
about this case? Tell us in the comments. Also, be sure to watch our other video The
Most Insane Ways Men Escaped from Prison. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.

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