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Patrick Henry MURPHY Jr.





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Escape - Member of the "Texas Seven" - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 24, 2000
Date of arrest: January 23, 2001
Date of birth: October 3, 1961
Victim profile: Aubrey Hawkins, 29 (Irving police officer)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Dallas County, Texas, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on November 20, 2003


TDCJ Number

Date of Birth

Murphy, Patrick Henry, Jr.



Date Received

Age (when Received)

Education Level




Date of Offense

Age (at the Offense)







Hair Color






Eye Color




Native County

Native State

Prior Occupation



Maintenance, Carpenter, Laborer

Prior Prison Record

#386888 on a 50 year sentence from Dallas County for aggravated sexual assault; 12/13/2000 escaped from custody.

Summary of incident

On 12/24/2000, in Irving, Texas, Murphy and six codefendants fatally shot a 31 year old white male police officer while on escape from the TDCJ Connally Unit.


Joseph Garcia, George Rivas, Randy Halprin, Larry Harper, Michael Rodriguez, Donald Newberry.

Race and Gender of Victim



The Texas 7 was a group of prisoners who escaped from the John Connally Unit near Kenedy, Texas on December 13, 2000. They were apprehended January 21-23, 2001 as a direct result of the television show America's Most Wanted.

The group was composed of the following Texas state prisoners:

  • Joseph C. Garcia

  • Randy Ethan Halprin

  • Larry James Harper (deceased by suicide)

  • Donald Keith Newbury

  • Patrick Henry Murphy, Jr.

  • George Rivas (Ringleader)

  • Michael Anthony Rodriguez (executed in 2008)


On December 13, 2000, the seven carried out an elaborate scheme and escaped from the John B. Connally Unit, a maximum-security state prison near the South Texas city of Kenedy.

At the time of the breakout, the reported ringleader of the Texas Seven, 30-year-old George Rivas, was serving 18 consecutive 15-to-life sentences. Michael Anthony Rodriguez, 38, was serving a 99-to-life term, while Larry James Harper, 37, Joseph Garcia and Patrick Henry Murphy, Jr., 39, were all serving 50 year sentences. Donald Keith Newbury, the member with the longest rap sheet of the group, was serving a 99-year sentence, and the youngest member, Randy Halprin, 23, was serving a 30-year sentence for injury to a child.

Using several well-planned ploys, the seven convicts overpowered and restrained nine civilian maintenance supervisors, four correctional officers and three uninvolved inmates at approximately 11:20 a.m. The escape occurred during the slowest period of the day when there would be less surveillance of certain locations like the maintenance area during lunch and at count time. Most of these plans involved one of the offenders calling someone over, while another hit the unsuspecting person on the head from behind. Once the victim was subdued, the offenders would remove some of his clothing, tie him up, gag him and place him in an electrical room behind a locked door.

The attackers stole clothing, credit cards, and identification from their victims. The group also impersonated prison officers on the phone and created false stories to ward off suspicion from authorities.

After that, three of the group made their way to the back gate of the prison, some disguised in stolen civilian clothing. They pretended to be there to install video monitors. One guard at the gatehouse was subdued, and the trio raided the guard tower and stole numerous weapons. Meanwhile, the four offenders who stayed behind made calls to the prison tower guards to distract them. They then stole a prison maintenance pick-up truck, which they drove to the back gate of the prison, picked up their cohorts, and drove away from the prison.

Crime spree

The white prison truck was found in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart in Kenedy, Texas. The Texas 7 first went into San Antonio right after breaking out of the complex. Realizing that they were running out of funds, they robbed a Radio Shack in Pearland, Texas the next day on December 14 at around 2 AM. In order to bypass the otherwise-competent store security, they entered an adjacent computer software store, wherein they proceeded to knock down the flimsy sheetrock wall to the other side. Once inside and undetected, they tethered the Radio Shack safe to their truck, and literally dragged the large safe outside of the building, causing damage to the parking lot and pavement.

On December 19, four of the members checked into an Econo Lodge motel in Farmers Branch, Texas (under assumed names), where they decided to rob an Oshman's Sporting Goods in nearby Irving, Texas. On December 24, 2000, they held up the store and stole 44 guns. A customer standing outside of the store noticed the commotion inside and called police. Irving police officer Aubrey Hawkins responded to the call, arrived on the scene and was almost immediately ambushed; his autopsy would show that he had sustained eleven gunshots and his body had been run over by the fleeing gang.

After Hawkins' murder, a $100,000 reward was offered to whoever could snare the group of criminals. The reward would climb to $500,000 before the group was apprehended.

Capture and Conviction

A friend of Wade Holder, the owner of the Coachlight Motel and R.V. Park in Woodland Park, Colorado, happened to watch the television program America's Most Wanted on January 20, 2001 and told Wade that they were staying in his RV Park. He believed that the Texas 7, who were being compared to Angel Maturino Resendiz, were in his trailer park. When he confirmed this, he reported the suspicious activities to local authorities the next day on January 21.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Department SWAT team found Garcia, Rodriguez, and Rivas in a Jeep Cherokee in the RV Park. Authorities moved in and captured them at a nearby gas station. They then found Halprin and Harper in an RV; Halprin surrendered peacefully, but Harper was found dead after a standoff; he had shot himself in the chest and left temple with a pistol. The surviving four members were taken into police custody.

On January 23, they received information on the whereabouts of the last two. They were hiding out in a Holiday Inn in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A deal brokered between the two, Newbury and Murphy, allowed them to make live TV appearances before they were arrested.

In the early hours of January 24, a local KKTV television anchorman, Eric Singer, was taken into the hotel where on camera he interviewed the two by telephone. Both of them harshly denounced the criminal justice system in Texas, with Newbury adding "the system is as corrupt as we are."

Authorities later found out that a woman named Patsy Gomez conspired with a man named Raul Rodriguez, the father of Michael Rodriguez, to help the Texas 7.

George Rivas was sentenced to death after being extradited to Texas. Since then, the other five surviving members of the Texas 7 have also been put on death row alongside Rivas, and are all awaiting death by lethal injection.

Michael Anthony Rodriguez announced that he would like to waive all appeals in order to hasten his death sentence. A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation ordered in January 2007, determined that he was competent to waive all appeals, and Rodriguez was executed on August 14, 2008.


In 2007, award-winning film and television production company Wild Dream Films produced The Hunt For The Texas 7, a 90-minute feature documentary about the prison break. The film was aired in late September 2008 on MSNBC. The film features interviews with members of The Texas 7 currently on Death Row, and eye witnesses.

The story of the Texas 7 is chronicled in the Food Will Win the War song, "TX7".


Patrick Henry Murphy Jr.



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