Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (17) - Murder for hire
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 21, 1996
Date of birth: August 1, 1979
Victim profile: Esequiel Fonseca
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Harris County, Texas, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on February 11, 1998. Commuted on June 22, 2005

The State of Texas
In the Fourteenth Court of Appeals

opinion 14-98-00311-CR
TDCJ Number
Date of Birth
Arthur, Mark Sam 999254 08/1/79
Date Received
Age (when Received)
Education Level
02/11/98 18 11 years
Date of Offense
Age (at the time of Offense)
12/21/96 17 Harris
Hair Color
Hispanic Male Brown
Eye Color
6-1 160 Hazel
Native County
Native State
Prior Occupation
Harris Texas Laborer
Prior Prison Record
Summary of incident

On 12/21/1996, Arthur and a juvenile accomplice carried out a murder-for-hire on an Hispanic male.  The two had been hired by the victim's wife. 

Arthur and the accomplice were in a stolen vehicle and were waiting along the victim's normal route home.  They pulled along side the victim's vehicle and fired several shots into the victim's vehicle, causing his death.

Unidentified male juvenile & Carmen Fonseca (victim's wife)
Race and Gender of Victim
Hispanic male
Mark Sam Arthur

The Houston Chronicle

December 18, 1997

A teen-ager who killed a man for $23 and the promise of a car from the victim's wife was sentenced to death by lethal injection Wednesday. 

Mark Arthur, 18, was convicted of capital murder last week for the slaying of Esequiel Fonseca, shot at least seven times as he drove home from work on Beltway 8 Dec. 21, 1996.

Fonseca's wife, Carmen, 41, who had an affair with Arthur and, prosecutors allege, asked him to kill her husband, is awaiting trial. A 16-year-old also involved is being handled by juvenile authorities.

It took the jury 22 hours to reach its decision on Arthur's sentence Wednesday.

After the verdict was read, Arthur's mother wailed in court, screaming "It's all my fault." She then screamed that she should have had an abortion.

The defendant began crying.

"His tears were only for himself," prosecutor Jane Waters, said, noting the defendant showed no remorse in the trial.

The jury heard about Arthur's criminal history dating back to when he was 12. Waters said Arthur has a juvenile record for car theft and a conviction for carrying a weapon.

He also has been tied to a string of crimes over a 23-day period last December that led up to the murder. These include accusations of burglary of a habitation, aggravated robbery, car theft and aggravated assault.

Defense attorney Kurt Wentz asked the jury to spare Arthur's life, telling them that the young man was influenced by an evil woman. He said Carmen Fonseca told Arthur that she was a battered woman.

On Dec. 21 last year, Arthur and a friend parked alongside Beltway 8 near Texas 288, waiting for the victim to pass by, according to a sheriff's department report. They pulled up next to Fonseca and fired into his car until it went out of control and crashed.

Six hours after the shooting, Arthur returned to the car to steal Fonseca's wallet. In his confession, Arthur said when he approached the car the second time, he heard the victim making "squeaky sounds," so he shot him several more times in the head.



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