Witness Clears Man Executed In Texas for 1985 Slaying

Associated Press
Tuesday, November 22, 2005

HOUSTON -- A decade after Ruben Cantu was executed for capital murder, the only witness to the crime is recanting and his co-defendant says Cantu, then 17, was not even with him that night.

The victim was shot nine times with a rifle during an attempted robbery before the gunman shot the only witness.

That witness, Juan Moreno, told the Houston Chronicle for its Sunday editions that Cantu was not the killer. Moreno said he identified him at the 1985 trial because he felt pressured and feared authorities.

Cantu, who had maintained his innocence, was executed on Aug. 24, 1993, at age 26. "Texas murdered an innocent person," co-defendant David Garza said.

Sam D. Millsap Jr., the district attorney who handled the case, said he never should have sought the death penalty in a case based on testimony from a witness who identified a suspect only after police showed him a photo three times.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company