Accepting responsibility, even if that means death

In 1992, Michael Rodriguez became infatuated with a Texas State University co-ed and arranged to have his wife killed. While in prison for that crime he met George Rivas, a thief serving 18 life terms. Led by Rivas, Rodriguez and five other inmates broke out of prison in South Texas in December, 2000.

The group then went on a crime spree Rodriguez says was thrilling, until it went wrong; they shot and killed a police officer. In January 2001, they were surrounded by a police SWAT team at a trailer park in Colorado. One of them committed suicide. Two others escaped but surrendered two days later. Rodriguez and the others were captured and returned to prison.

The six surviving members of the gang have all been sentenced to death, with Rodriguez scheduled to go first. Michael Rodriguez is ready. In fact, he’s volunteered to be executed.

“I’m glad we got caught,” he told reporters, “so no one else would get hurt. … I have a lot of people here telling me how unfair the system is,” Rodriguez says, but he disagrees. “At some point in our lives, you have to have some sort of accountability. … I’m guilty of what they said — everything. … I think it’s a fair sentence. … I need to pay back. I can’t pay back monetarily. This is the way.”

Michael Rodriguez will pay for his crimes later this week.