Administration Asks Court To Halt Execution Of Mexican National In Texas

Humberto Leal is scheduled to die next week in Huntsville. (Prison photo)

WASHINGTON (July 1, 2011)--The Obama administration is taking the unusual step of asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop Texas from executing a Mexican citizen who was convicted and sentenced to die for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl.

The administration is asking the court to delay the July 7 execution of Humberto Leal, 38, for as long as six months to give Congress time to consider legislation that would directly affect Leal's case.

Leal, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, wasn't told he could contact the Mexican consulate after his arrest for the murder of Adria Sauceda.

Leal’s lawyers say police violated an international treaty by not telling him he could have consular assistance.

Legislation pending in the U.S. Senate would allow federal courts to review cases of condemned foreign nationals.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia refused to stop the execution, ruling Leal’s appeal had no merit.

He said the congressional measure is only a proposal that's already failed twice.

On Monday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Leal’s appeal and motion for a stay of execution and on Thursday the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also rejected an appeal and request for a stay.

On Friday, Leal’s attorney filed a petition for review with the U.S. Supreme Court and also filed a motion for a stay.

Leal was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to die nearly 16 years ago for the brutal abduction, rape, beating and strangulation of the San Antonio teenager.

The victim was at a party that Leal also attended on May 20, 1994.

At some point the teenager, who was intoxicated, but conscious was placed in Leal’s car and Leal drove off.

A half hour later, Leal’s brother showed up at the party and shouted that Leal had arrived home with blood on him, saying he had killed a girl, prosecutors said.

Some of the people at the party went to look for Sauceda and they found her nude body on a dirty road.

Officers reported that she was nude and lying on her back and that a bloody and broken stick protruded from her vagina, prosecutors said.

An autopsy showed that she died from blows to the head from a 30 to 40 pound chunk of asphalt found lying partially on her arm with which she had to have been struck several times.

She was also strangled and had bite marks on her body that prosecutors say matched Leal’s teeth.

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