Saturday, December 10, 2011

Texas Carries Out State's Final Execution of 2011

The 42nd Execution of 2011

In 1999, Guadalupe Esparza abducted 7-year-old Alyssa Vasquez from her San Antonio home when her babysitter was at a neighbor's place, reported Reuters. Her strangled body was found in a nearby field.  He was executed by lethal injection on November 16, 2011, according to state prison officials.

On the night Alyssa died, Esparza had called and visited her home, looking for her mother, according to an account of the case by the Texas attorney general's office. DNA testing showed the sperm found on Alyssa's body belonged to Esparza.

"To the family of Alyssa Vasquez, I hope you will find peace in your heart," Esparza, 46, said in his final statement, according to Jason Clark, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman.

"My sympathy goes out to you. I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me. I don't know why all this happened."

According to Reuters, Esparza had a long criminal record, including a 1985 aggravated sexual assault conviction for beating a woman with a loaded gun and forcing her to have sex with him. And in 1984, he was convicted of assault causing bodily injury for hitting a man with a metal pipe and a baseball bat.

Alyssa's mother, Diana Berlanga, attended the execution with a few other family members, Clark said.

"The day he gets his death, I'll be smiling," Berlanga said earlier this year, according to the San Antonio Express-News. "I cannot forgive. I'll tell God, 'Forgive me for not forgiving him.'"

Two of Esparza's friends attended the execution, and just before he died, he asked them to say goodbye to his family, reported Reuters.

"Jesus, take me home; take me away from this place," Esparza said in his final statement, according to Clark.

Esparza was the 13th person executed this year in Texas, which has executed more than four times as many people as any other state since the United States reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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