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Texas executes man for killing 12-year-old boy

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Huntsville(US): A South Texas man has been executed for the 1998 slaying of a 12-year-old boy whose blood the convicted killer said he drank after beating the seventh-grader with a pipe and slitting his throat.

Pablo Lucio Vasquez yesterday told police he was drunk and high when voices convinced him to kill David Cardenas in Donna, a Texas border town about 225 miles south of San Antonio. He also told detectives in a videotaped statement that he drank some of the boy’s blood.

Asked by the warden if he had a final statement, Vasquez, 38, told relatives watching through a window that he loved them and thanked them for being there, then turned his head to look through an adjacent window where four of his victim’s relatives stood.

“I’m sorry to David’s family,” he said. “This is the only way that I can be forgiven. You got your justice right here.”

As the lethal dose of pentobarbitone began taking effect, he said he was a little dizzy. “See you on the other side,” he said, raising his head off the gurney pillow and looking toward two of his sisters, a brother-in-law and a cousin.

He snorted loudly once, then dropped his head back to the pillow and took a few quiet breaths before all movement stopped.

He was pronounced dead 24 minutes later at 6:35 p.M. Cardenas’ relatives declined to speak with reporters following the execution, the 11th this year in the US, six of them in Texas.

The punishment was carried out about four hours after the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Vasquez’ lawyer, James Keegan, who sought a reprieve so the justices could review whether several potential jurors were improperly excused from Vasquez’ capital murder trial because they either were opposed to the death penalty or not comfortable making such a judgement.

State lawyers opposed any delay, arguing the potential jurors’ exclusion was legally proper and that the latest appeal was similar to an unsuccessful one 12 years ago and amounted to “nothing more than a meritless attempt to postpone his execution,” Assistant Texas Attorney General Jeremy Greenwell told the high court in a filing Tuesday.

Earlier, unsuccessful appeals, including one rejected last month by a federal judge, focused on whether Vasquez was mentally ill and should be ineligible for the death penalty.

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