ODESSA, Texas — UPDATE: Michael Dean Gonzales, also known as "Spider," has been granted a stay of execution by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, according to his attorney.
The stay was granted on the grounds of intellectual disability and newly discovered evidence.
Gonzales' habeas application originally raised four concerns, including the claim that he is intellectually disabled and cannot constitutionally be executed, that the State suppressed material, that the State knowingly elicited multiple instances of false testimony and that he is actually innocent.
Since his conviction in 1995, there have been several appeals filed in the case, and this decision marks his second stay of execution.
The hearing scheduled for Friday at the Ector County Courthouse has been canceled.
This is all the new information we have at this time. Read below for more details on his crime, conviction and request to withdraw the execution order.
Michael Dean Gonzales, also known as "Spider," has asked a judge to withdraw his execution order after new evidence was provided by the Odessa Police Department, according to a federal defender for the Western District of Texas.
Gonzales was convicted in the 1994 stabbing deaths of his neighbors, Manuel and Merced Aguirre, after he broke into their house in an attempt to steal several items.
His execution date is scheduled for March 8, 2022.
The motion to withdraw states that OPD recently re-examined its file and released "potentially exonerating new physical evidence and photographs to Gonzales."
A statement released by his counsel points to two main new pieces of evidence. These include potential bloodstains on clothing worn by another man suspected of committing the crime, as well as 60 untested fingerprint cards they claim an examiner said could identify other suspects.
An application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Gonzales Monday raises several things he sees as fundamental errors with his conviction and sentencing.
The application sites intellectual disability, significant official misconduct and actual innocence.
The Odessa Police Department has issued the following statement in regard to the case:
In response to a recent news story into the appeal by Michael Dean Gonzales, the Odessa Police Department has not entered a new investigation or review of this case. Employees of the Odessa Police Department have simply responded to requests for information for the case and provided evidence and copies of reports as required by law. Any additional information or new evidence being stated to have been located is not by an employee or representative of the Odessa Police Department. We stand by the evidence and facts of this case as turned over, and have no additional information to add other than the original investigation from 1994.
Judge John Shrode will hold a hearing on March 4 in regard to the motion to withdraw Gonzales' execution date.
During the hearing, counsel for Mr. Gonzales will present their arguments to Judge Shrode.
It will take place at the Ector County Courthouse at 9:30 a.m. in Odessa.