Brownsville judge closes John Allen Rubio’s latest appeal

John Allen Rubio, left, and his attorney, David A. Schulman of Austin, Texas listen during a hearing in Brownsville, Texas Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, on a request to have State District Judge Noe Gonzalez, who presided over his second capital murder trial, recused from the murder trial that resulted in Rubio's conviction. Visiting State District Judge Manuel Banales denied the request. Rubio was convicted of capital murder for beheading his common law wife's three children in 2003 and in now on Death Row. (Brownsville Herald photo)
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Death Row inmate John Allen Rubio’s pursuit of habeas corpus relief has been officially closed.

U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez Jr. on April 5 issued a nearly 100-page order on why Rubio, 43, is not entitled to the discovery he sought as appellate attorneys challenged his conviction.

That same day, Rodriguez signed a one-page final judgment, denying with prejudice Rubio’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus and ordering that no certificate of appealability shall be issued.

A jury in 2010 convicted Rubio of beheading Julissa Quesada, 3, John E. Rubio, 14 months, and Mary Jane Rubio, 2 months. He was the father of Mary Jane Rubio while his co-defendant and then-common-law wife Angela Comacho was the mother of the other children.

Rubio had argued that the former Cameron County District Attorney’s Office, then led by Armando Villalobos, elicited false testimony, interfered with defense funding, prosecuted Rubio in bad faith, and engaged “in a pattern of tactical abuse that rendered Rubio’s trial fundamentally unfair.”

Villalobos was later arrested by federal authorities in a pay-to-play scheme that also resulted in the arrests of a sitting judge, a state legislator and others.

The former DA would be convicted of accepting more than $100,000 in bribes and kickbacks and would spend 13 years in federal prison.

That scheme occurred during Rubio’s prosecution.

He had also sought to take depositions from a former high-ranking prosecutor in the Cameron County DA’s Office and a doctor who testified as a rebuttal witness to Rubio’s insanity defense.

Lastly, Rubio had sought to challenge testimony from A.P. Merillat, who testified on prison classifications and violence.

“As he had done in other Texas death penalty cases, Merillat misled Rubio’s jury regarding significant components of TDCJ’s clarifications system, and also the extent to which he testified falsely in other cases,” the motion stated.

Rubio, a Brownsville native, remains on Death Row at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas.

Camacho, 44, pleaded guilty to murder in 2005 and was sentenced to life in prison. She is serving her sentence at the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville, Texas.

She is eligible for parole on March 12, 2043.