Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Texas executes man after three stays over 21 months

The 30th Execution of 2012

Texas executed Cleve Foster on September 25.  He had received three stays of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court because of questions about how forcefully his lawyers defended him, reported Reuters.

Foster was convicted with an accomplice in the 2002 murder and rape of Nyanuer "Mary" Pal, whose naked body was found in a ditch, according to a report by the Texas Attorney General's office.

He was pronounced dead at 6:43 p.m. local time at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, according to a Texas criminal justice spokesman.

The Supreme Court a year ago granted a temporary stay of execution just 2 1/2 hours before Foster was to be put to death by injection. It was the third stay from the high court for Foster, who also was granted delays in January and April 2011.

Tuesday's request for a fourth stay was referred by Justice Antonin Scalia to the full court but just three of the nine justices -- Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- said they would favor another stay.

Foster's accomplice in the murder, Shelton Ward, died of brain cancer on death row in 2010. Foster maintained in his trial that Ward acted alone and that contact between him and the victim was consensual.

In his last statement, Foster sent his love to his family and friends. "I love you, I pray one day we will all meet in heaven ...," Foster said. "Ready to go home to meet my maker."

Foster is the 9th person executed in Texas this year. Texas has executed more than four times as many people as any other state since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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