After two decades on death row, a Mexican national at the center of an international dispute is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection Wednesday night in Texas unless the U.S. Supreme Court steps in an issues an 11th hour stay.
Lawyers for Ruben Ramirez Cardenas asked the nation’s highest court to halt the Texas execution, citing advances in DNA testing. Cardenas is set to die for the February 1997 rape and beating death of his 16-year-old cousin Mayra Laguna.
Cardenas told police he and his friend Jose Antonio Lopez Castillo were on drugs when they drove to Laguna’s apartment and raped her. When he untied his cousin she “came at me,” he said, scratching and kneeing him. He said he “lost it” and then started punching her in the face.
When he hit her in the neck, Laguna started to cough up blood. Cardenas tried to revive her. When that didn’t work, he tied her back up and “rolled her down a canal bank.”
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