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Introduction ............................................................. 7 Chapter 1: Meet the Seven: Newbury, Rivas, Rodriguez, Garcia ................................... 11 Chapter 2: Meet the Seven: Harper, Halprin, Murphy, Jr. ............................................ 23 Chapter 3: The Plan ................................................ 35 Chapter 4: The Escape ............................................. 43 Chapter 5: Evading Police ........................................ 49 Chapter 6: The End of the Seven .............................. 55 Further Reading/Educational Videos ........................ 60 Bibliography/Citations ............................................ 61 Index ..................................................................... 62 Author’s Biography/Photo Credits ............................ 64 KEY ICONS TO LOOK OUT FOR: Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Examples include news coverage, moments in history, speeches, iconic sports moments, and much more!


The Texas Seven


O n December 13, 2000, a group of seven inmates enacted an intricate plan, often compared to the only known escape from Alcatraz, to break out of John B. Connally Unit in Kenedy, Texas. The seven men would evade justice for forty-three long days during the holiday season of 2000 and well past New Year’s Day in 2001. During that time, the entire state of Texas and the states surrounding it remained on high alert. The escapees ranged from robbers to rapists, child abusers to murderers. Because the courts had handed down to each of the men lengthy, near-lifetime or lifetime sentences, they had nothing to lose. Their escape gave them their only chance at freedom, one they desperately wanted to keep. That showed in the time and care they spent on planning and executing the prison break, which required building a false bottom for a pickup truck, costumes, overpowering guards, acquiring weapons, stealing a prison vehicle, hiding four of the prisoners under the truck’s

While the Texas Seven were on the run from the John B. Connally Unit in Kenedy, Texas, the whole state of Texas and the states surrounding it were on high alert.



false bottom, gaining access to the guard tower, and opening the prison gates without detection. Their escape became fodder for numerous newscasts, two documentaries, TV specials, one book, and a criminology course offered by South Texas College. Each had his reason for wanting to escape and each contributed talents to the breakout. How did seven men from different walks of life who met in prison collaborate to pull off the most daring prison break in Texas history? Read on to learn about the seven men who became The Texas Seven, also known as The Connally Seven. Following their escape, the Texas Seven became infamous throughout the media. Furthermore, South Texas College (pictured here) offered a criminology course on the subject.


The Texas Seven


Scan here to watch news footage from the KXAS-TV/NBC station in Fort Worth, Texas, on the FBI search for The Texas Seven.

The Texas Seven were the subject of numerous TV and news programs.




The Texas Seven

Chapter One

L ittle exists about the seven men online or in print except for their prison records. Each of them started out as a regular guy. No member of the Texas Seven committed headline-grabbing crimes to land in prison. Each held down a normal job. The men’s backgrounds did differ. One played in a band in high school, while another attended college to become a teacher. Friends knew another by his fabulous sense of humor. The one thing each man had in common, though, was breaking the law in the state of Texas, arguably the toughest of the U.S. states on crime. In Texas, offenses that net an individual a few years in other states result in decades-long sentences or death sentences. The state also applies a legal tenet called the “law of parties,” which states that if while in the company of others, one of them commits a crime, then all of those present can share the legal blame. The Texas legal system applied the law of parties to The Texas Seven in the case of the murder of police officer Aubrey Hawkins. Meet the Seven: Newbury, Rivas, Rodriguez, Garcia The Texas Seven were also known as the Connally Seven. John Bowden Connally Jr., was an American politician. He served as the 39th Governor of Texas. The Seven escaped from the John B. Connally Unit in 2000.


Meet the Seven: Newbury, Rivas, Rodriguez, Garcia


Scan here to watch a video documentary on what happens in an individual’s last 24 hours on death row.

Their biographies include as much information as possible but in some cases, the family of the inmate has removed information linking them to the inmate or the deceased. Even on sites such as Find a Grave, the deceased lists no family connections. Donald Keith Newbury

Born on May 18, 1962, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Donald Keith Newbury preferred to go by his middle name of Keith. His friends described him as “polite and gracious” and possessing “a keen intelligence and great sense of humor.” Despite only a sixth-grade education, according to Murderpedia , he worked as a carpenter, electrician, and laborer.


The Texas Seven

As a young man, Newbury turned to robbery as a means of self support to supplement his earnings. He became known as inmate #326418 when serving a ten-year sentence due to a conviction in Travis County for aggravated robbery, but on July 23, 1985, the prison system released him on mandatory supervision. Keith returned to prison less than two years later on April 8, 1987, when he received a second conviction in Travis County, this time for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. He served nearly five years of his fifteen-year sentence and received parole on March 4, 1992. He made it six years on the outside without incident, but returned to the Texas prison system on May 15, 1998, on a conviction for a single count of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. Keith Newbury began serving his ninety-nine-year sentence, a steep stint due to Texas’s three strikes law, which allows judges to mete out extreme sentences to repeat offenders.

Travis County Courthouse is pictured below. As a young man, Newbury was convicted in Travis County for aggravated robbery.


Meet the Seven: Newbury, Rivas, Rodriguez, Garcia

The third strike sentence landed Keith in the John B. Connally Unit. In the Kenedy, Texas, prison, he would meet and make friends with the six men with whom he would escape to enjoy forty-three days of freedom. After his recapture, the state of Texas executed Donald Keith Newbury on February 4, 2015, in Huntsville, Texas. Although he did not shoot Officer Aubrey Hawkins, Texas sentenced him to death for the murder of the officer, according to the law of parties. His burial site remains undocumented. George Angel Rivas Jr. George Angel Rivas Jr. was born on May 6, 1970, in El Paso, Texas. He graduated from high school in the same city.

Born on May 6, 1970, in El Paso, Texas, George Angel Rivas Jr., graduated from high school in the same city. At Ysleta High School, teachers remembered a handsome, clean-cut young man. Most described him as nondescript and intelligent. Only his teacher for speech class remembered suspecting Rivas could turn to crime.


The Texas Seven

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