A Texas man who said he heard 'satanic' voices in his head ordering him to slay a 12-year-old boy and drink the blood from his throat while he was still alive has been executed in Texas.
Pablo Lucio Vasquez told police he was drunk and high when voices convinced him to kill David Cardenas in Donna in 1998.
Asked by the warden if he had a final statement Vasquez told relatives watching through a window that he loved them and thanked them for being there.
He 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 while being strapped to a gurney.
"This is the only way that I can be forgiven. You got your justice right here."
As the lethal dose of pentobarbital 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 pm.
The execution was the 11th this year in the US. Six of them have been in Texas.
Court records showed Vasquez, his 15-year-old cousin, Andres Rafael Chapa, and Cardenas, Chapa's friend, all attended a party in Donna, a Texas border town where Vasquez and Chapa lived.
Cardenas was from nearby Alamo, also in the Rio Grande Valley, and was spending the weekend with Chapa.
The killing occurred April 18, 1998, after the three left a party.
In a chilling confession confession tape, Vasquez told detectives of the sickening moment voices told him to tip the boy over his shoulder and drink his blood.
Vasquez firstly told authorities that as he and Chapa reached a wooden shed, he began hearing voices telling him to kill Cardenas.
"Something just told me to drink," Vasquez said.
"You drink what?" a detective asked.
"His blood," Vasquez replied.
"I picked him up in the air. The blood was dripping and got it all over my face. So, I don’t know, I mean something just told me to drink."
Vasquez then told detectives they placed the young boy on the ground and Chapa picked up a shovel and hit him in the head with it "five or six times."
He also confessed to burying Cardenas's body in a shallow grave and covering him with grass and pieces of wood.
Police received an anonymous tip about the slaying that led them to Chapa and eventually to Vasquez, who was arrested in Conroe, a Houston suburb more than 523 kilometres north of Donna.
Authorities found the mutilated body five days later under some scraps of aluminum in a vacant field.
"It was really horrendous," Joseph Orendain, the lead trial prosecutor, recalled last week.
His statement to police about the devil and drinking blood fuelled speculation about Satanism, but the subject never came up at Vasquez's trial or in appeals.
"Did he drink it? I don't know," Orendain said.
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 judgment.
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.
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.
Chapa pleaded guilty to a murder charge is serving a 35-year prison term.
Three other relatives of Chapa and Vasquez received probation and a small fine for helping cover up the slaying.
One of them was deported to Guatemala.
News break – April 7