Juan Salvez Soria

Executed July 26, 2000 by Lethal Injection in Texas

56th murderer executed in U.S. in 2000
654th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
26th murderer executed in Texas in 2000
225th murderer executed in Texas since 1976

Since 1976
Date of Execution
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
Date of
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Date of
Method of
to Murderer
Date of
Lethal Injection
Juan Salvez Soria

H / M / 18 - 33

Allen E. Bolden

W / M / 17

with knife
Received at DOC

The series of crimes against Bolden began when Soria and Lagunas asked Bolden for a ride as he was leaving work as a lifeguard/swimming instructor. Bolden agreed. Once they were in the car, Lagunas put a gun to Bolden's head and told him to drive to an area under a bridge. There, Lagunas hit Bolden in the head with a rock and Soria stabbed Bolden twice in the back of the head, killing him. Two days later, Soria was stopped for speeding. Bolden's body was found the next day based on information given by Lagunas. The next day, Soria confessed to police that he killed Allen Bolden. The murder weapon was found in the seat of the car Soria had stolen from Bolden. Accomplice Lagunas was sentenced to 45 years imprisonment. On June 9, 2000, Soria attacked a 78-year-old volunteer prison chaplain with a razor, resulting in serious and permanent injuries.


Internet Sources:

Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Executed Offenders (Juan Salvez Soria)

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Texas Attorney General


AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Juan Soria who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 26th:

Juan Soria was convicted in Tarrant County, Texas and sentenced to death for the June 1985 murder of 17 year-old Allen Bolden, a recent graduate of Lamar High School in Arlington, Texas. The victim, who had been a competitive swimmer, gave swimming lessons at the Panther Boys Club in Fort Worth and also worked as a lifeguard at the Fort Worth Boys Club.

Allen Bolden was kidnapped in Fort Worth, struck with a rock, and then stabbed twice with a knife in the back of the head, resulting in his death. Soria and his accomplice, Mike Lagunas, then stole Bolden's car. The series of crimes against Bolden began when Soria and Lagunas asked Bolden for a ride as he was leaving work. Bolden agreed. Once they were in the car, Lagunas put a gun to Bolden's head and told him to drive to an area under a bridge. There, Lagunas hit Bolden in the head with a rock and Soria stabbed Bolden twice in the back of the head, killing him. Following the murder, Soria and Lagunas picked up two of their friends and bragged about killing Bolden. Soria was indicted in 1985 in Tarrant County on the offenses of murdering Allen Bolden while in the course of committing and attempting to commit robbery and kidnapping. A jury found Soria guilty of capital murder in June 1986.

On June 9th of this year, Juan Soria attacked a 78-year-old volunteer prison chaplain with a razor, attempting to cut the chaplain's arm off as he visited Soria in his cell. Soria cut the chaplain's wrist to the bone, severing the arteries and tendons. The chaplain underwent emergency surgery as a result of the attack.


In early June, Soria discussed with friends his plans to kill Bolden, whom he knew from the Fort Worth Boys Club. An initial attempt by Soria to carry out his plan the day before was aborted because, as Soria told a friend, he did not "know what to do with him" or "where to take him."

Soria and Lagunas bragged about killing Bolden shortly after the murder. Soria told friends, "We did it, man, we did it" and described stabbing Bolden. Two days later, Soria was stopped for speeding by a highway patrolman outside of Del Rio, Texas and lied to police about his name and address. The patrolman, upon learning that the car was stolen, took Soria and the other occupants of the car to the county jail. Bolden's body was found on July 1, 1985 based on information given to policy by Soria's friend, Mike Lagunas. The next day, Soria confessed to an Arlington police officer that he killed Allen Bolden, and the murder weapon was found in the seat of the car Soria had stolen from Bolden.

June 8, 1994 - Court of Criminal Appeals reforms Soria's sentence to life in prison in a 5-4 opinion.
Sept. 11, 1996 - Rehearing granted. Death sentence reinstated.
Nov. 6, 1996 - Court of Criminal Appeals denies Soria's motion for rehearing.
June 2, 1997 - United States Supreme Court denies Soria's petition for writ of certiorari.
Aug. 4, 1997 - United States Supreme Court denies motion for rehearing.
July 31, 1998 - Trial court recommends that state habeas relief be denied.
Nov. 18, 1998 - Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with trial court and denied relief.
March 25, 1999 - District Court entered order denying federal habeas relief.
March 16, 2000 - Fifth Circuit denied permission to appeal.
July 24, 2000 - Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles votes to deny reprieve and/or commutation.

Two months before murdering Allen Bolden, Soria burglarized a church and caused about $1,000 worth of damage. While Soria was in jail awaiting trial, jailers found in his cell a self-portrait drawn by Soria which depicted him holding a bloody knife. Additionally, the jailers had discovered and confiscated a razor blade from Soria's jail cell. A police officer testified during the punishment phase of Soria's trial that Soria had a reputation of not being a law-abiding citizen. While Soria was in jail before his murder trial, he beat up another inmate with a broom he had hidden under his mattress


Juan Salvez Soria and two others were arrested June 30, 1985, near Del Rio in a car last driven by Allen E. Bolden, a 17-year-old Boy's Club lifeguard who disappeared two days before. Soria confessed to the robbery-slaying after Bolden's body was found. Bolden had agreed to give Soria and the others a ride from the Boy's Club. Earlier this year, a volunteer prison chaplain was attacked and his arm severely lacerated by Soria.

As the execution date for Juan Soria nears, friends and teachers recall with sadness his victim - a top area swimmer who was killed by thieves wanting his car. In June 1985, Allen Edward Bolden was a fresh-faced 17-year-old Lamar High School graduate who chose to teach underprivileged children in Fort Worth to love the water sport. Soria, the son of a migrant worker, had a 9th-grade education and had worked sporadically in construction and at an auto body shop. He had never before been in legal trouble but conspired with an older teen to steal Allen's car, drive it to Mexico and sell it.

Soria, 33, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday for abducting and fatally stabbing Allen after the teen gave him a ride from the Fort Worth Boys Club. The killer's execution date brings a flood of memories to family and friends who mourn not only Allen's death, but the loss of what might have been for the nationally ranked athlete who wanted to become a doctor. It also has made some who grew up with liberal leanings about the death penalty embrace it as a legitimate means of punishing people who callously dispose of others. "Allen could have chosen any path and he would have been successful," said Jon Ivonen, the district swim coach for Arlington high schools. "He's been gone for a long time but not forgotten. He was an outstanding young man." Mr. Ivonen said he doesn't expect to feel any differently if the state carries out its plans to kill Soria by lethal injection. The peace that has eluded him for 15 years will not likely come if Soria is executed at 6 p.m. Wednesday. "It won't bring Allen back," Mr. Ivonen said.

Allen, an honor student at Lamar, had just received a scholarship to Texas Christian University when he was killed June 28, 1985. He had been captain of the swim team that included all 3 Arlington high schools. He had set his sights on becoming an Olympian, his friends said. "He was a nice guy, a real charmer," said Andrea Gross, a former schoolmate and swim team member. On the night Allen disappeared, he had planned a party at a hotel. "He was the host, and he didn't show up. We weren't sure what to think," said Ms. Gross, who manages a brokerage firm in Denver. For 2 days, Allen's whereabouts were unknown. His body was found in a wooded area of north Fort Worth. He had been stabbed in the head and neck. Prosecutors said Soria and his co-defendant, Mike Lagunas, had planned for several days to attack Allen. Both were found with the car in Del Rio.

Lagunas, who was 19 at the time of the slaying, pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Soria was found guilty and has been serving time since his 1986 trial. He has 2 appeals pending. One is to the U.S. Supreme Court on the basis of trial error and exclusion of Hispanics from the jury. The other is to the 18-member Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles asking for a stay of execution or a commutation to a life sentence. Members of Soria's family said they believe that he has become mentally unstable, as evidenced by his recent attack on a prison chaplain. Last month, Soria was placed in the psychiatric unit after attacking a volunteer chaplain visiting death row at the Terrell Unit in Livingston, said his attorney, Gary Taylor of Austin. Myrna Soria, 30, of Fort Worth, the convicted murderer's sister, said she and members of her family are hoping that her brother can be awarded clemency or at least a stay of execution. "We feel he does not deserve it [the execution] because he didn't have a fair trial. "We want to say to the family of Allen Bolden that we are very sorry this happened, and we apologize and hope they can forgive my brother for what he did."

The Boldens say they have forgiven Soria but believe it is important for him to be punished. "I feel I have already forgiven him, but I want to see justice done," Allen's mother, Laurie Bolden, said. Edward Bolden, Allen's father, said that 2 months ago he was planning to not witness Soria's execution. "But then because of the attack on the prison chaplain, I decided I should," the 53-year-old father said. "It just seems that as a parent this is the final step I need to take to put this behind. Not in terms of closure, but that I need to step forward and do this." Jeff Brannen, another Lamar schoolmate, said Allen's death challenged his idealistic view of a society where good triumphs over evil. "When it happens to somebody you know, it's hard to have a utopian view of society," said Mr. Brannen, a Dallas lawyer. "There was no reason for Allen Bolden's death. He was killed for his car."

Texas Execution Information Center

Juan Salvez Soria, 33, was executed by lethal injection on 26 July in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a 17-year-old lifeguard.

In June 1985, Soria, then 18, and Mike Lagunas, 19, asked Allen E. Bolden to give them a ride home from the Fort Worth Boys Club, where Bolden was working as a lifeguard and swimming instructor. Bolden, who knew Soria from the club, gave the pair a ride in his father's car. Once inside the car, Lagunas pulled a gun on Bolden and forced him to drive to a secluded area. There, Lagunas knocked him out by striking him with a rock, and Soria stabbed him to death. Soria later told police that he "bent down and stabbed the guy twice in the soft spot at the back of the head." After killing Bolden, the two went back to the Boys Club and bragged to friends about the murder. They picked up two friends, robbed an ice cream truck for gas money, and headed for Del Rio, a town near the Mexican border where Soria had once lived. They planned to sell Bolden's Oldsmobile Toronado there for $5,000.

Two days later, Soria, Lagunas, and a 14-year-old juvenile companion were driving the stolen car in the Del Rio area and were pulled over for speeding. Police discovered the car was reported stolen and arrested them. Soria confessed to the killing and the pair told authorities where they could find Bolden's body back in Fort Worth. Mike Lagunas pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping and is serving a 45-year sentence. No information was available on the 14-year-old who was with Soria and Lagunas at the time of their arrest. Soria was convicted of capital murder and received the death penalty. In 1994, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals removed Soria's death sentence, because it found that the jury had insufficient evidence to determine that he was a continuing threat to society. Prosecutors appealed the ruling, and the court reinstated Soria's death sentence two years later. At the age of 18, Soria had no prior felonies, but he had been arrested once for vandalizing and attempting to break into a church.

In prison, Soria had a history of self-mutilation and suicide attempts. In June, he pulled a volunteer prison chaplain's arm into his cell and repeatedly slashed it with a razor blade. The minister, 78-year-old William Paul Westbrook, was severely injured. Soria was placed in the psychiatric unit after that incident. He reportedly attempted to kill himself again the weekend before his execution. Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down Soria's appeal, rejecting his claims of trial error and improper exclusion of Hispanics from the jury. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles also rejected his plea for clemency by an 18-0 vote. His final appeal was rejected on Wednesday afternoon, when a state district judge denied his lawyer's claim that Soria was not competent to be executed. P>At his execution, Soria had long hair and a wild beard, as he had not been given access to a razor since his attack on the chaplain. A towel covered numerous self-inflicted cuts on his arms. In his last statement, he spoke slowly, in a barely audible voice, mentioning Allah and divine love numerous times. He concluded by saying, "They say I am going to have surgery, so I guess I will see everyone after this surgery is performed. It is finished." He was pronounced dead at 6:27 p.m.

Abeline ReporterNews.Com

"Condemned Killer Set to Die Wednesday Placed Under Suicide Watch," by Michael Graczyk. (AP)

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A condemned Texas inmate set for execution Wednesday evening was under close scrutiny by prison officials after a weekend attempt to kill himself. Juan Soria, 33, faced lethal injection for fatally stabbing a Fort Worth teen-ager in 1985 so he could steal the victim's car.

Soria, with a history of self-mutilation and repeated suicide tries in recent years, nearly severed the hand of a prison minister in a razor attack on death row in June. Details of the most recent suicide attempt were not immediately known although Soria's attorney said his client had tried to kill himself. “He is back on suicide watch,” said Larry Fitzgerald, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman.

Since the attack last month on the prison chaplain, Soria has been held at a prison medical unit where he has been under doctor's care. He met with relatives over the weekend and was moved Tuesday to the Terrell Unit, which houses death row, to meet with his lawyer.

“I think the guy is mentally ill,” said Bill Harris, Soria's attorney. “I don't know the extent. Of course, there's a distinction between being mentally ill and being competent to be executed. “You've really got to be pretty profoundly mentally ill and you have to have people to believe that you legitimately don't know you're going to be executed, or that it's imminent or why you're being executed. You can be pretty sick and still know those three things.” The U.S. Supreme Court late Tuesday refused a request to review his case and stop the punishment. Attorneys contended there were problems with jury selection at his trial. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, on an 18-0 vote, refused a clemency petition.

Harris said he had no plans to seek a 30-day reprieve from Gov. George W. Bush, who by law can issue such a reprieve once. “I don't expect he would grant it,” he said. “And at this juncture, I don't see the justification for it. Thirty days is great if you have something to do with the 30 days.” Soria's lethal injection would be the second this month in Texas and 26th this year. At least six executions are scheduled for August.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 1994 reduced Soria's sentence to life, saying the trial jury had insufficient evidence to decide one of the questions required for a death sentence: that Soria was a continuing threat to society. Prosecutors, however, appealed the ruling and two years later the court reinstated the death sentence. Soria was condemned for killing Allen Bolden, 17, who worked at the Fort Worth Boys Club which Soria frequented. Soria, 18 at the time, and a companion, Mike Lagunas, then 19, hitched a ride with Bolden, then pulled a gun on the victim and forced him to drive to a secluded area. Court records showed Lagunas knocked him out by striking him with a rock and Soria killed him with a pair of knife thrusts to the back of his neck. They then drove his car to Del Rio, nearly 400 miles to the southwest, where they hoped to sell it for cash. When they were pulled over for speeding near Del Rio, police discovered the car was reported stolen and arrested them. Lagunas received a 45-year prison term for aggravated kidnapping. Soria received the death sentence

Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

WHAT: George W. Bush will oversee his 137th killing as Texas Governor, if he allows the Texecution of Juan Soria, a man who is clearly mentally incompetent.
WHEN: The execution is scheduled for July 26, 2000 after 6:00pm Central USA time.
WHERE: Huntsville, TX.

A few weeks ago the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) moved Juan Soria from the Terrell Unit (the Livingston, Texas prison which houses Texas Men's Death Row) to the Jester IV Unit (the Richmond, Texas prison which exclusively houses inmates with mental health concerns). By making this move TDCJ itself acknowledges that Juan Soria has acute psychiatric problems. On Sunday, June 23, 2000 Juan Soria's family saw him. Juan Soria was completely incapable of making himself understood. He could say a few intelligible words, but he couldn't convey any ideas or thoughts.

Effective September 1, 1999 Texas enacted a law especially to prohibit the execution of any person who is incompetent. See Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 46.04. In lay man's terms, this law establishes that a death row inmate is considered incompetent if he or she does not understand (1) that he or she is to be executed and that the execution is imminent; and (2) the reason he or she is being executed.

Juan Soria clearly doesn't understand that he is about to be executed, nor does he understand the reason why he is about to be executed. It appears that Juan Soria doesn't currently understand anything. Juan Soria's execution is illegal.