Texas Man Gets Death for Killing Fetus - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

02/08/07 - Bexas County, Texas

Texas Man Gets Death for Killing Fetus

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A former youth pastor was sentenced to death Wednesday for killing a teenager and her fetus in what is believed to be the first such order in Texas, the nation's busiest death penalty state.

Adrian Estrada, 23, was convicted Friday of one count of capital murder for the death of Stephanie Sanchez and the fetus, of which he was the father.

'This is a significant case,' said Bexar County prosecutor Susan Reed. 'This is significant for the state.'

A 2003 Texas law amended the definition of the word 'individual' to include an 'unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.'

The death sentence is Texas' first in the death of a fetus, said Dave Atwood, founder of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, which monitors capital cases.

Sanchez, 17, was three months pregnant Dec. 12, 2005, when her body was found in her family's home. She had been choked and stabbed 13 times. During the trial, DNA evidence was presented to show Estrada was the father.

Estrada, a former youth pastor for a church, admitted to the stabbing the day after the killings. Prosecutors also said he worked out at a gym and went shopping after the crime. He showed no emotion when his punishment was read.

'The bad guy that you don't suspect is the one that you can't protect your loved one from,' said Scott Simpson, Bexar County assistant prosecutor. 'And that's what he was and that's what he is.'

Estrada's attorney, Suzanne Kramer, had argued that her client made bad decisions.

'It that enough to execute him? Is that enough to kill him?' she asked the jury.

According to the Web site of the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 36 states have homicide laws defining a fetus as a person.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.

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