Rivas: Why I Broke Out

Ringleader George Rivas Admits Guilt To '60 Minutes'

Before a Dallas County judge imposed a gag order in the case of Texas escapee George Rivas, he told 60 Minutes about his obsession to escape and his role in the murder of an Irving police officer.

"There's a saying in prison," Rivas told Correspondent Ed Bradley. "It goes, 'I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.' I got to that point. You know, I didn't want to die an old man in prison is what it comes down to."

Rivas, who was serving multiple life sentences for armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping and burglary, said hopelessness was his chief motivation for breaking out.

"Take away hope from men, you give 'em an initiative, and they are practically unstoppable," he said.

On Friday, after Bradley interviewed Rivas, District Judge Molly Francis imposed a gag order on all participants involved in the cases of the six living prison escapees, including Rivas, charged in the capital murder of an Irving police officer.

"These continued reports affect the people who listen to them in Dallas County," Francis said. The reports are "a clear and serious threat to the fairness of the trial."

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For more on Ed Bradley's interview with George Rivas, his first for television, watch 60 Minutes on Sunday.
She issued the gag order out of "concern that pre-trial publicity will impair my ability to empanel a fair and impartial jury," Francis said.

Rivas, who did not speak at the hearing, was in a Dallas County court for the first time. He wore a jail-issued, orange jumpsuit. He was handcuffed.

Francis said jury selection in Rivas' trial could begin as early as June. She plans to instruct jurors to disregard all previous statements made to the media, unless the reports are entered as evidence into the trials.

Rivas confessed to Bradley that while Irving police Officer Aubrey Hawkins had his hands up, he shot him three times in the head during a Christmas Eve robbery at a suburban Dallas sporting goods store.

"Whether I fired the lethal round that did kill Mr. Hawkins or not, I did initiate it," Rivas said."I am at fault and I do take full responsibility for it."

Although Rivas has said he will plead guilty, prosecutors renewed their promises Thursday to seek the death penalty against all six captured convicts.

"No deal," said Assistant District Attorney Toby Shook about any possible plea agreements. "We are confident we have solid cases on all six individuals."

Also Friday morning, the father of another recaptured prison convict, Michael A. Rodriguez, and a friend were arrested on charges of supplying the getaway car for the inmates.

Rivas was returned to Texas on Thursday and appeared in the Dallas County jail before Magistrate Dorothy Shead, who set bond at $1 million on the capital murder charge. Because Rivas is a prison escapee, he cannot be released.

Rivas is the only one of the surviving six escaped convicts to waive extradition. The other five have court hearings scheduled for later this month in Colorado, where they were captured after seven weeks on the lam. A seventh inmate committed suicide as police closed in.

Rivas will be housed in a single cell at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center, as will the rest of the convicts when they arrive, said Ed Spencer, a Dallas County Sheriff's Department spokesman.

A Dallas County grand jury indicted the six on capital murder charges Thursday.

The seven fled the Connally Unit in Kenedy, about 60 miles southeast of San Antonio, on Dec. 13 after tying up employees and guards in a precisely orchestrated plan. They grabbed weapons and ammunition on their way out.

Rivas has said he planned the breakout and recruited the other escapees.

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