The state of Texas executed a Mexican national despite international outcry and his repeated claims of innocence, according to a news report. The state also denied a request for new DNA testing of the victim.
Ruben Cardenas Ramirez claimed innocence of the rape and murder of his 16-year-old cousin from 20 years ago in the Rio Grande Valley, reports the Houston Chronicle.
Cardenas professed innocence up until his execution on Nov. 8.
With 343 homicides in 2017, Baltimore “had the highest murder rate in its history, and by far the highest among the nation’s 30 largest cities,” according to The New York Times 1-17-18
The victim’s sister, Roxanna Laguna, said, “Justice was finally served.” She said she witnessed a man coming through their bedroom window and kidnapping her sister from the bed they shared.
International organizations such as Amnesty International, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the United Nations criticized the handling of the case.
Cardenas sent a written note to his family before the execution. It said, “I love you all very much. And I know that you love me too. … I will not and cannot apologize for someone else’s crime, but I will be back for justice.”
“Some 70 million Americans have a criminal record – a number equal to Americans with a college degree,” according to the Brennan Center for Justice. NEW YORK TIMES July 27, 2018 “Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance”
Police closed in on the Guanajuato native as the key suspect hours after Mayra Laguna’s disappearance on Feb. 22, 1997. Investigators questioned Cardenas and his friend Tony Castillo. The two first confessed to partying with booze and cocaine, but after hours of intense questioning, admitted to her murder.
After the admission, authorities claimed Cardenas led them to Mayra’s body, which had been tossed in a canal.
But defense counsel claimed the opposite: police forced Cardenas into confessing to the killing, and the police led him to the body, rather than the other way around.
“This guy is guilty as sin,” Hidalgo County prosecutor Ted Hake said.
According to court documents, Hidalgo County did not inform Mexican authorities about Cardenas’ arrest or apprise him of his rights to talk with a Mexican consulate, a violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
Cardenas’ attorney, Maurie Levin, filed several appeals in the federal courts requesting new DNA tests.
Carrying out the execution without more testing “violates the most basic notions of fairness and justice,” Levin said.
“I am extraordinarily disappointed with this outcome and at the same time overcome with pride at the efforts made by his lawyer, Maurie Levin, and her team of lawyers,” said Gregory Kuykendall, an Arizona attorney authorized to speak on behalf of Mexico.