Another turned up in a guys back pocketand not just in his back pocket, but buried deep, between his wallet and a bundle of crumpled receipts. Kwong asked someone to rip a card into four pieces, then hold them in his fist; when he opened his hand, the card was reassembled! Maybe this doesnt sound that impressive, written down. We all know card tricks are a thing. But the way Kwong kept relentlessly confronting us with the impossibleseeing this sorcery at close rangeseemed to not just entertain people but to make them feel vulnerable and a little scared. People mewled and screamed, No! One poor man was reduced to crouching on the floor, laughing so euphorically he couldnt catch his breath. (OK, that was me.) The guy with the ripped-up card in his fist refused to open it at first, shaking his head like a child terrified to look at his boo-boo, afraid of what hed find. He has total power over us, one woman said quietly, gravely. She sounded creeped out. It was so much fun!
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Ruiz, who already had pocketed $1,000 and had failed in two earlier killing attempts, asked Mark Rodriguez if he wanted him to “do it,” and Rodriguez gave him the go-ahead. As Theresa Rodriguez was getting out of the car, Ruiz put a .357 Magnum revolver to her head and fired. Three days later, Ruiz collected another $1,000 for the completed job. Evidence showed Michael Rodriguez stood to collect at least a quarter-million dollars in insurance benefits from his wife’s death and that he’d recently applied for another $150,000 in life insurance for her. Ruiz had met Mark Rodriguez at the home of a mutual friend, was arrested nine days after the shooting and implicated the brothers. The police investigation was aided by a telephone tip after Theresa Rodriguez’s employer, the San Antonio-based financial services giant USAA, offered a $50,000 reward for information about her slaying. The Rodriguez brothers eventually accepted life prison terms in plea deals. Mark Rodriguez was paroled in 2011. Michael Rodriguez later joined Ruiz on death row as one of the notorious Texas 7, a group of seven inmates who escaped from a South Texas prison in 2000 and killed a Dallas-area police officer. He was executed in 2008.
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