In the months leading up to his 2000 escape from a Texas prison, George Rivas had made up his mind that he would gain his freedom or die trying. Now, the mastermind of one of the most daring prison escapes in Texas history is a few days from execution. The leader of the Texas Seven escapees said he is at comfort with the finality that will come Wednesday. “It’s bittersweet,” Rivas, 41, told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. “Bitter because I hurt for my family, for them. Sweet because it’s almost over.”
Rivas organized the Dec. 13, 2000, escape of the seven inmates, including a rapist, murderers, and robbers, who fascinated and terrified the state and nation as they eluded authorities. On Christmas Eve, the convicts, dressed as security guards, robbed a sporting goods store when Irving, Tx., police officer Aubrey Hawkins confronted them. Rivas has said he shot Hawkins repeatedly, including three times while Hawkins, 29, had his hands up. He died a few hours later. The murder spurred a nationwide manhunt for Rivas and his fellow escapees. Rivas says he feels guilt for his actions and deserves to die for his crime.