| Crime |

Craig Watkins and Toby Shook Damn the Judge Who Freed the Texas Seven's Getaway Car Provider

Raul Rodriguez

The very definition of "shock probation": Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins was shocked to find out that Raul Rodriguez -- who provided the Texas Seven with a getaway vehicle upon their escape from the John B. Connally Unit, shortly before they gunned down Irving police officer Aubrey Hawkins on Christmas Eve 2000 -- has been released from prison after he served only five months of a 10-year sentence. Happened in July, matter of fact, courtesy Karnes County Judge Ron Carr, who freed the father of Michael Anthony Rodriguez without notifying the Dallas County District Attorney's Office. Says Craig Watkins today, the release is "a disgrace for us in Dallas County and throughout the state of Texas."

Says Lori Hawkins, wife of the slain officer: "The State of Texas has let me down again."

A jury gave Rodriguez 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine back in July 2003, but he didn't actual enter prison till February 2007, once he'd exhausted all of his appeals. And former Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Toby Shook, who led the office's prosecution of the Texas Seven, is as furious as Watkins: "I'm outraged at this process. The fact that Raul Rodriguez is walking around a free man is just highly offensive to the memory of Aubrey Hawkins." The judge has yet to speak about Rodriguez's release.

Also, there appears to be a British-made documentary about the Texas Seven making the rounds. --Robert Wilonsky

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