HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Foreword
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Foreword

On Friday, November 13, 1863, lawmen hanged Chipita Rodriguez from a mesquite tree near Corpus Christi, Texas.1 Less than a week earlier, a jury had found her guilty of killing a trader for his gold.2 The trader and sheriff were both Anglo, and the sheriff handpicked the jury.3 Rodriguez was poor and of Mexican descent. She had little in the way of a defense lawyer, who presented even less in the way of a defense.4

The sheriff’s story about what happened never added up because the trader’s gold was found near his body.5 It was rumored in the Mexican community that Rodriguez took the blame for someone else. Years later, the story goes, another man confessed on his death bed to killing the trader.6

Rodriguez’s last words were “No soy culpable,” I am not guilty.7 In 1985, the Texas Legislature and Governor absolved her, in what remains the only posthumous exoneration in the state’s storied history of capital punishment.8

A witness to the execution said Rodriguez survived the hanging and moaned from inside the coffin as lawmen lowered it into an unmarked grave.9 Legend has it that Rodriguez’s ghost haunts the river bottoms north of Corpus Christi whenever Texas executes one of its many death row prisoners.10

If ghost stories are true, Rodriguez’s spirit still walks. After the courts lifted a moratorium on executions that began in the 1960s, Texas resumed executing people in 1982. Since then, Texas has executed 482 people, four times more than any other state.11

Sources

Primary Records

  1. Texas Legislature, SCR 14, 69th Regular Session (signed into law June 13, 1985);

News Reports

  1. Michael Holmes, Mystery Still Surrounds Last Woman Executed in Texas, Abilene Rep., Jan. 26, 1998, http://www.texnews.com/1998/texas/last0126.html (last visited Oct. 11, 2011);

  2. Ruel McDaniel, The Day They Hanged Chipita, Texas Parade, Sept. 1962;

  3. Steve Ray, Chipita’s Execution Haunts Local Memory, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Feb. 2, 1998, http://www.caller2.com/newsarch/news10471.html (last visited Feb. 13, 2012);

Other Secondary Sources

  1. State Data for Texas, Death Penalty Info. Ctr., http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/state_by_state (last visited Feb. 22, 2012);

  2. Vernon Smylie, A Noose for Chipita (1970);

  3. Marylyn Underwood, The Ghost of Chipita The Crying Woman of San Patricio, in Legendary Ladies of Texas (Francis E. Abernethy ed., 1981);

  4. Marylyn Underwood, Rodriguez, Josefa [Chipita], Handbook of Tex. Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fro50 (last visited Feb. 13, 2012);

  5. Chipita Rodriguez, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chipita_Rodriguez (last visited Feb. 13, 2012).

See Marylyn Underwood, The Ghost of Chipita The Crying Woman of San Patricio, in Legendary Ladies of Texas 51–56 (Francis E. Abernethy ed., 1981); Vernon Smylie, A Noose for Chipita (1970).

See Marylyn Underwood, Rodriguez, Josefa [Chipita], Handbook of Tex. Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fro50 (last visited Feb. 13, 2012); Chipita Rodriguez, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chipita_Rodriguez (last visited Feb. 13, 2012).

State Data for Texas, Death Penalty Info. Ctr., http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/state_by_state (last visited Feb. 28, 2012).

Marylyn Underwood, The Ghost of Chipita The Crying Woman of San Patricio, in Legendary Ladies of Texas 52 (Francis E. Abernethy ed., 1981); Marylyn Underwood, Rodriguez, Josefa [Chipita], Handbook of Tex. Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fro50 (last visited Oct. 11, 2011).

See Marylyn Underwood, The Ghost of Chipita The Crying Woman of San Patricio, in Legendary Ladies of Texas 51–56 (Francis E. Abernethy ed., 1981).

See Marylyn Underwood, The Ghost of Chipita The Crying Woman of San Patricio, in Legendary Ladies of Texas 51–56 (Francis E. Abernethy ed., 1981).

See Michael Holmes, Mystery Still Surrounds Last Woman Executed in Texas, Abilene Rep., Jan. 26, 1998, http://www.texnews.com/1998/texas/last0126.html (last visited Oct. 11, 2011).

See Ruel McDaniel, The Day They Hanged Chipita, Texas Parade, Sept. 1962, at 18, 19.

Steve Ray, Chipita’s Execution Haunts Local Memory, Corpus Christi Caller-Times,Feb. 2, 1998, http://www.caller2.com/newsarch/news10471.html (last visited Feb. 13, 2012).

Texas Legislature, SCR 14, 69th Regular Session (signed into law June 13, 1985) (providing symbolic remedy for false execution of Chipita Rodriguez);

see Marylyn Underwood, Rodriguez, Josefa [Chipita], Handbook of Tex. Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fro50 (last visited Feb. 13, 2012).

See Marylyn Underwood, Rodriguez, Josefa [Chipita], Handbook of Tex. Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fro50 (last visited Feb. 13, 2012).

Foreword
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