Texas Inmate's Last Words: I Didn't Do It

Ivan Cantu has long claimed he didn't kill his cousin, cousin's girlfriend
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 29, 2024 1:00 AM CST
Texas Inmate's Last Words: I Didn't Do It
FILE - This undated booking photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Texas death row inmate Ivan Cantu.   (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP, File)

A Texas man who had long claimed his conviction more than 20 years ago was based on false testimony and questionable evidence was executed Wednesday for fatally shooting two people, including his cousin, the AP reports. Ivan Cantu received a lethal injection and was pronounced dead at 6:47pm at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the November 2000 fatal shooting of his cousin, James Mosqueda, 27, and his cousin's girlfriend, Amy Kitchen, 22. In final words from the execution chamber, the 50-year-old inmate said several times that he was innocent. "I want you to know that I never killed James and Amy," he told relatives and a friend of Kitchen who stood feet away from him while watching through a window. "And if I did, if I knew who did, you would've been the first to know any information."

He said he wanted them to know he didn't think his death "will bring you closure. If it does, if this is what it takes or have any reservations off in your mind, then so be it." Prosecutors had said Cantu killed Mosqueda, who dealt illegal drugs, and Kitchen as he tried to steal cocaine, marijuana, and cash from his cousin's north Dallas home. The inmate, who was convicted in 2001, had long claimed a rival drug dealer killed his cousin in a dispute over money. As a lethal dose of the sedative pentobarbital began flowing, Cantu began snoring. After the eighth snore, which was accompanied by a gasp, he stopped all movement. Twenty-one minutes after the drugs started, he was pronounced dead. (Hours earlier, Idaho halted an execution after an hour of trying to establish an IV line.)

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