Killer of carjacked Air Force officer to be executed

The execution of Vincent Gutierrez will be the Texas's 10th this year.

texas execution 88 (photo credit: )
texas execution 88
(photo credit: )
A man convicted of killing a U.S. Air Force officer during a carjacking 10 years ago is scheduled to be executed Wednesday in Texas, the busiest capital punishment state in the US. The execution of Vincent Gutierrez will be the state's 10th this year. During the 1997 carjacking, the gunman needed to change out of his blood-spattered clothes. Gutierrez threw his clothing in a trash bin and donned some gym shorts and a T-shirt bearing the U.S. Air Force logo. They were in the back of the red Mazda sports car he and a buddy had stolen and belonged to their victim, Capt. Jose Cobo. "They looked so awkward on him," Bert Richardson, the former assistant district attorney in Bexar County who prosecuted Gutierrez and his 17-year-old companion Randy Arroyo, recalled witnesses saying. Gutierrez, known to his friends as "Flaco," Spanish for "Skinny," was no physical match for the muscular Cobo, a 13-year Air Force veteran who was chief of maintenance training at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy at Lackland Air Force Base. Authorities said Arroyo and Gutierrez had scoured San Antonio for a particular Mazda model because Gutierrez had the same car and needed some parts. The Colombia-born Cobo, abducted at gunpoint outside his apartment, was forced to the passenger side of his car. He tried to bolt from the vehicle in slow morning rush-hour traffic. Two hours later, Cobo, 39, was pronounced dead at a hospital. "I went ahead and shot him twice," Gutierrez, 28, recently told the weekly newspaper San Antonio Current from death row, explaining he had no intention of returning to jail for a robbery. At the time of the shooting, he had been free just two weeks after spending two months in a prison boot camp for a burglary conviction. Even 10 years later, he remained unrepentant. "In order for me to be remorseful, I have to feel for somebody," he said. "And I didn't know him, so I don't feel for him." Gutierrez's lethal injection would be the 10th this year in Texas, tand the first of two on consecutive days this week. Gutierrez and Arroyo, who was driving Cobo's stolen car, were arrested. They were tried together and a jury at their 1998 trial decided both should die. Arroyo had his sentence commuted to life in prison when the U.S. Supreme Court two years ago ruled those under the age of 18 at the time of their crime could not be executed. Set to die 24 hours after Gutierrez is Roy Lee Pippin, condemned for the slayings of two men in Houston 13 years ago. ___ On the Net: Texas Department of Criminal Justice execution schedule,