The 26th Execution of 2011
Texas executed Humberto Leal. He was a Mexican citizen. His pending execution gained international notoriety because he was allegedly denied help from his home country that could have helped him avoid the death penalty. Even the White House called for a stay of execution.
In his last minutes, Humberto Leal repeatedly said he was sorry and accepted responsibility, reported the Associated Press.
"I have hurt a lot of people. ... I take full blame for everything. I am sorry for what I did," he said in the death chamber.
"One more thing," he said as the drugs began taking effect. Then he shouted twice, "Viva Mexico!"
"Ready warden," he said. "Let's get this show on the road."
He grunted, snored several times and appeared to go to sleep, then stopped all breathing movement, reported the Associated Press. He was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m., 10 minutes after the lethal injection began.
After his execution, relatives of Leal who had gathered in Guadalupe, Mexico, burned a T-shirt with an image of the American flag in protest. Leal's uncle Alberto Rodriguez criticized the U.S. justice system and the Mexican government and said, "There is a God who makes us all pay."
Mexico, the Obama administration and others had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to delay Leal's execution so Congress could consider a law that would require court reviews in cases where condemned foreign nationals did not receive help from their consulates. They said the case could affect not only foreigners in the U.S. but Americans detained in other countries, according to the Associated Press.
The court rejected the request 5-4. Its five more conservative justices doubted that executing Leal would cause grave international consequences, and doubted "that it is ever appropriate to stay a lower court judgment in light of unenacted legislation."
"Our task is to rule on what the law is, not what it might eventually be," the majority said.
Leal's attorney Sandra L. Babcock said that with consular help her client could have shown that he was not guilty, reported the Associated Press. But she added, "This case was not just about one Mexican national on death row in Texas. The execution of Mr. Leal violates the United States' treaty commitments, threatens the nation's foreign policy interests, and undermines the safety of all Americans abroad."
To read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/125199479.html