At approximately 11:20 a.m. on December 13 2000, the notorious Texas Seven began to orchestrate their grand escape from the John B. Connally Unit, a maximum-security state prison in Karnes City, Texas.
Reported ringleader George Rivas, 30, was serving 18 life sentences. The rest of the group was made up of Michael Anthony Rodriguez, 38, Larry Harper, 37, Joseph Garcia, Patrick Henry Murphy, 39, Donald Keith Newbury, 23, and Randy Halprin, 23.
The seven inmates made their move during the slowest part of the day, when there would be less surveillance over certain locations of the facility.
The gang overpowered 11 prison workers and three uninvolved inmates by having one of the seven call someone over while another struck the unsuspecting person on the back of the head.
After having their clothing, credit cards, and identification stolen, the victims were bound, gagged, and locked in an electrical room.
The Texas Seven then headed towards the back gate of the prison, disguised in their civilian clothing and pretending to be there to install video monitors. After subduing one guard at the gatehouse, some of them raided the guard tower for weapons while the others distracted the prison tower guards over the phone. The group then stole a maintenance truck and proceeded to drive away from the prison.
Over the next few days, the seven struck several businesses in a series of robberies. On Christmas Eve, the gang held up Oshman's Super Sports in Irving, Texas and stole 20 automatic weapons and approximately $70,000 cash. When Irving police officer Aubrey Hawkins responded to the store's burglary alarm, he was immediatley ambushed and killed. His autopsy revealed that he was shot eleven times and run over by the gang.
Hawkins' murder attracted national media attention, with a reward of $500,000 being offered for their capture.
On January 20, 2001, Wayne Holder happened to be watching the story on "America's Most Wanted."
Holder was the owner of the Coachlight Motel and R.V. Park in Colorado, and believed the Texas Seven were residing in his trailer park. He contacted the local authorities the next day.
Teller County Sheriff's deputies worked together with the FBI and U.S. Marshals to stake out the motor home. Police followed a silver jeep spotted leaving the premises and pulled it over in a traffic stop at the Western Convenience Store in Coach Light. Inside of the vehicle, authorities found Rivas, Rodriguez and Garcia. They were arrested immediately and identified as three of the seven escapees. Once identities were confirmed, police immediately began negotiations with two escapees still in the trailer.
Randy Halprin surrendered himself to authorities in the immediate area of the staked-out motor home. Larry Harper remained inside and negotiated with police, requesting to speak to his father on the phone. Agents, Marshals and Deputies heard a single gunshot fired within the trailer. They later confirmed that Larry Harper committed suicide with a gunshot wound to the heart.
The two remaining fugitives, Donald Keith Newbury and Patrick Henry Murphy, Jr., were captured two days later.