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Convicted Murderer William Berkley To Be Executed Thursday

In less than a week, the man convicted of one of El Paso’s most notorious murders will be dead. William Berkley is set to be executed for the brutal murder of Sophia Martinez back in 2000.

“There are lots of conflicting thoughts in his mind. It’s probably anger, it’s probably fear,” said Christian Gerstheimer, Curator at the El Paso Museum of Art. The museum recently exhibited some of the paintings done by Berkley, who was convicted of robbing and killing Sophia Martinez.

Berkley had Sophia drive out to the desert near Painted Dunes Golf Course. That’s were he raped her and then shot her five times in the face. According to court documents, Berkley robbed Sophia so that he could get money to pay for a friend’s court costs.

During his time on death row, Berkley tried reaching out to anyone who would listen. “Dearest Reader, I’d like to welcome you to the barbaric world of solitary confinement on Texas death row, a place so sinister and vile in nature, it crushes the mortal soul of men,” he wrote on a website.

Through the years, Berkley has maintained his innocence and has tried to prove it. In past interviews, he explained his hopes of hiring a private attorney by getting money from his artwork.

Gerstheimer offered an interpretation of a piece by Berkley titled ‘Jury Selection – Welcome to the System.’ “The word life and the word death are merged together into one symbol and that’s probably something he’s really thinking about,” said Gerstheimer.

The paintings are a collection of images Gerstheimer believes were a way for Berkley to come to terms with his fate. “It’s so spontaneous and so complicated,” he said, “It’s like he just was doodling for hours and then looked back and said, ‘Oh! That’s really about my life.'”

Berkley is scheduled to be executed Thursday, April 22.

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