Gov. Rendell yesterday signed an execution warrant for a North Philadelphia man who was convicted of murdering a man in the presence of his family on Aug. 27, 1992.
Miguel Rios, 54, is scheduled to be executed July 12. Rios was sentenced to death in October 1994 in the slaying of Jose Ortiz, 21, during a robbery in Ortiz's home in Olney. According to the prosecution, Rios posed as a Philadelphia Gas Works meter reader to get into Ortiz's home on Wellens Avenue near Third Street. Once inside, Rios beat Ortiz's sister-in-law, then bound him and shot him in front of his wife, Carmen, and his 2-year-old son.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the sentence on Oct. 30, 1996. Two execution warrants were issued, but the execution was stayed each time; first, to allow certiorari proceedings in the U.S. Supreme Court; and second, to allow post-conviction proceedings in Common Pleas Court. Post-conviction relief was denied by the trial court on March 21, 2001 and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed that decision on April 18, 2007, thus lifting the second stay.
Rios has also been convicted in another killing during a home-invasion robbery. In September 1992, Rios killed Miguel Basilio, 35, of North Philadelphia, after gaining entry into the victim's home and terrorizing his wife, sister, and four small children for more than two hours. Basilio was also shot in front of his family. - Inquirer staff