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Texas has executed a Mexican-born illegal alien after the US supreme court and the state’s governor, Rick Perry, spurned appeals from Barack Obama to spare the convicted child-rapist/murderer’s life in order to protect US interests abroad.
Humberto Leal Garcia was put to death by lethal injection for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl despite the appeals of senior diplomats, military officials and prominent politicians who said the execution could jeopardise the lives of Americans.
Child-Rapist/Murderer Humberto Leal Garcia
Shortly before Leal was led in to the death chamber in Huntsville the supreme court rejected by 5-4 an appeal from the White House to block the execution on the grounds it was in breach of an international convention governing the treatment of foreigners who are arrested and would therefore do “irreparable harm” to America’s interests. Perry also declined to exercise his power to delay the execution by 30 days. His office argued that Leal was guilty of a heinous crime and deserved to die for it.
The Texas governor is a vigorous advocate of the death penalty. He has overseen the execution of more than 200 men and is on the brink of entering the US presidential race with strong support of conservatives who back capital punishment.
Perry’s decision followed a rejection by the Texas board of pardons and paroles of Leal’s request for a reprieve or commutation of his sentence.
Leal, a 38-year-old former mechanic, was convicted in 1994 of the rape and killing of Adria Sauceda, whose battered naked body was found hours after the pair left a street party together. Her skull had been smashed in with a piece of asphalt.
Adria Sauceda – Garcia’s Innocent Victim
After his arrest, the Texas police failed to tell Leal, who was born in Mexico but has lived in the US since the age of two, that under the Vienna convention he was entitled to contact the Mexican consulate.
Leal’s lawyers have argued that had a material effect on whether he received the death penalty because he did not have swift access to legal representation which Mexican diplomats would have offered.
The White House asked the supreme court to put the execution on hold while Congress passes a law that would prevent Leal from being put to death along with dozens of other foreign nationals who were denied proper access to diplomatic representation before trials for capital crimes.
In a 30-page brief to the court, the administration said that carrying out the execution “would place the United States in irreparable breach of its international law obligation” under the convention.
But Stephen Hoffman, an assistant attorney general for Texas, said in a brief to the supreme court: “Leal’s argument is nothing but a transparent attempt to evade his impending punishment.”
Sauceda’s mother, Rachel Terry, told a San Antonio television station that Leal’s life should not be spared.
“A technicality doesn’t give anyone a right to come to this country and rape, torture and murder anyone,” she said.
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