George Rivas, subject of forthcoming Herzog doc, executed in Texas

George Rivas, a man interviewed by Werner Herzog (pictured) for the director's upcoming four-part series On Death Row, has been executed in Texas.
March 2, 2012

George Rivas, a man interviewed by Werner Herzog (pictured) for the director’s upcoming four-part series On Death Row, has been executed in Texas, at the age of 41.

Rivas was best known as the reported ringleader of the infamous ‘Texas 7′ gang, which organized the state’s biggest prison break. While on the run, the group committed a robbery that led to the death of a police officer and as a result, all of the escapees were given the death penalty.

In one of his final interviews on September 7, 2011 at the Polunsky Unit in Texas, Rivas spoke to Herzog about the decisions that led to the night which sentenced him to death.

The news comes after Michael Perry, one of the subjects of Herzog’s feature doc Into The Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life, was executed eight days after speaking to the director, and before the film’s completion.

Talking to realscreen last fall, Herzog said there would be “a clear distinction” between the feature doc and the four-part series.

The series will look at individual crimes perpetrated by a number of different convicted felons, he said, while the theatrical film would feature “a big tapestry of events around a sort of gothic America, and a look into the deep recesses of the human soul, going way beyond the crime and the perpetrators, going way beyond capital punishment.”

The four-part miniseries will premiere on Investigation Discovery in the U.S. on March 9 at 10 p.m. EST, while the episode featuring Rivas will air March 23 at 10 p.m. In the UK, Channel 4 has rights to the series.

Henry Schleiff, president and general manager of ID, Military Channel and Planet Green, said of Herzog: “His interview style produces some of the most intimate and interesting portraits of perpetrators I’ve seen in my decades in television. I was haunted by the depths of human evil portrayed, and I look forward to sharing this truly contemplative series with our audience.”

Check out a clip from On Death Row below:


About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.