Texas executes Mexican citizen for 1997 rape, murder

Texas Department of Criminal Justice photo)
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HUNTSVILLE, Texas (KWTX) Ruben Cardenas, 47, ran out of time and options Wednesday night.

Texas prison officials executed the Mexican Citizen after several unsuccessful last-minute federal court appeals for the 1997 abduction, rape and murder of his 16-year-old cousin, Mayra Laguna.

The high school student was snatched from a bedroom she shared with a younger sister at her family's public housing apartment in McAllen.

Her body was found later in a canal near a lake.

In a confession to police, Cardenas said he had sex with the girl and then fatally beat her as she fought him.

He later claimed the confession was coerced.

His attorneys filed two federal lawsuits in hopes of halting the execution, but both were dismissed.

One argued that Ramirez Cardenas' due process and civil rights were violated because state officials wouldn’t release evidence to facilitate new DNA testing.

Attorneys for the state argued the lawsuit was improper and that state courts refused the request because Cardenas could not show that more advanced DNA tests would exonerate him.

The inmate’s attorneys appealed the dismissal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

An appeal on the same issue was pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorney Maurie Levin separately argued for a phone in the prison, so she could contact courts and the Texas governor before and during the execution.

Texas prisons spokesman Jason Clark said cellphones are barred from Texas prisons by law and that no landline phone is accessible to execution witnesses.