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USA: Texas conducts USA’s second execution of year

Ivan Cantu, a 50-year-old Hispanic man, was executed in Texas on February 28, 2024. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 2001 for a double murder committed in November 2000. An independent investigation raised serious questions about the reliability of the state’s case against him. Final appeals were dismissed, and executive clemency denied.


On February 27, Texas’s top criminal court said no to Ivan Cantu’s last attempt to stop his execution and look into new evidence. His lawyers argued that the trial had false testimony and poor legal help, but the court found that Cantu didn’t meet Texas law requirements and dismissed his appeal without looking into the claims. The same day, a federal appeals court also refused Cantu’s request to reconsider his case, calling it a last-ditch effort. Cantu’s team didn’t take the case to the Supreme Court, seeing no way forward.

The Texas parole board also voted against delaying Cantu’s execution. This left the Governor with only the power to delay it by 30 days. The jury foreman from Cantu’s 2001 trial, now realizing some testimony was misleading, called for a delay in an article, hoping for a more thorough investigation. He still supports the death penalty but felt deceived by the trial’s issues.

Cantu was executed as planned, with two of the victims’ family members watching. In his last words, he denied killing the victims and wished he could have helped find justice if he knew anything. He chose not to have personal witnesses but was joined by his spiritual advisor.

Cantu was declared dead 21 minutes after the execution started. The district attorney’s office expressed hope for peace for the victims’ families.

So far this year, there have been two executions in the U.S., making a total of 1,584 since 1976. Texas has the highest count with 587. The first execution using nitrogen hypoxia happened in Alabama on January 25, 2024. An attempt to execute a 73-year-old in Idaho was called off when the execution team couldn’t set up an IV.

Amnesty International stands against the death penalty in all situations, seeing it as against human rights and the ultimate harsh punishment.