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Texas executes Mexican for rape-slaying

HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Texas executed a Mexican citizen yesterday for the rape-slaying of a teenager after he and the White House pleaded in vain for a Supreme Court stay, saying he was denied help from his home country that could have helped him avoid the death penalty.

In his last minutes, Humberto Leal, 38, repeatedly said he was sorry and accepted responsibility. "I have hurt a lot of people. . . . I take full blame for everything. I am sorry for what I did."

"One more thing," he said as drugs began taking effect. Then he shouted twice, "Viva Mexico!" "Ready warden," he said. "Let's get this show on the road."

Leal, 38, a mechanic, was sentenced to death for the 1994 murder of Adria Sauceda, 16, whose brutalized body was found hours after he left a San Antonio street party with her. She was bludgeoned with a chunk of asphalt.

Leal was a toddler when he and his family moved to the United States from Monterrey, Mexico. His citizenship became a key element of his attorneys' efforts to win a stay. They said police never told him he could seek legal assistance from the Mexican government under an international treaty. Mexico, the Obama administration and others had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to delay execution so Congress could consider a law that would require court reviews in cases of condemned foreign nationals not receiving help from their consulates.

The court rejected the request 5-4. Its five more conservative justices doubted that executing Leal would cause grave international consequences. -- AP

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