Texas Executes 2nd Prisoner This Week

Associated Press
Friday, August 8, 2008

HUNTSVILLE, Tex., Aug. 7 -- An illegal immigrant from Honduras who maintained his treaty rights were violated when he was arrested for a robbery-murder near Dallas was executed Thursday evening. It was the second case of its kind this week in Texas.

"God forgive them, receive my spirit," Heliberto Chi said in English. In Spanish, he told a friend watching through a window that he loved him. Chi was pronounced dead nine minutes later.

Chi's lawyers argued that he should have been told he could get legal aid from the Honduran Consulate after being arrested.

The Supreme Court, ruling about 2 1/2 hours before his scheduled execution time, rejected his appeal without dissent. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state's highest criminal court, rejected a similar appeal Wednesday.

The arguments in Chi's case, focusing on rights of foreigners under international treaty, were similar to those used Tuesday by lawyers for condemned Texas prisoner Jose Medellin. In that case, the Supreme Court, with four of the nine justices dissenting, rejected his appeal and the Mexican-born Medellin was executed for participating in the gang rape and murders of two Houston teenage girls 15 years ago.

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