Texas inmate Ivan Cantu executed for double murder - Hindustan Times
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Texas inmate Ivan Cantu executed for double murder, claimed he is innocent in final words

BySumanti Sen
Feb 29, 2024 08:09 AM IST

Ivan Cantu was accused of fatally shooting his cousin, James Mosqueda, 27, and Mosqueda’s 22-year-old girlfriend, Amy Kitchen, in November 2000

Texas inmate Ivan Cantu, accused of shooting two people including his cousin dead, was executed by lethal injection on Wednesday, February 28. Ever since his conviction, Cantu had maintained his innocence, alleging it all happened based on false testimony and questionable evidence. He was convicted more than 20 years ago.

This undated booking photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Texas death row inmate Ivan Cantu (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP, File)
This undated booking photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Texas death row inmate Ivan Cantu (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP, File)

Cantu was pronounced dead at 6:47 pm at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for fatally shooting his cousin, James Mosqueda, 27, and Mosqueda’s 22-year-old girlfriend, Amy Kitchen, in November 2000. He reiterated several times that he was innocent, in his final words from the execution chamber.

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Cantu has been accused of killing the pair while attempting to steal cocaine, marijuana and cash from his cousin’s north Dallas home. Mosqueda dealt with illegal drugs. Cantu long claimed that his cousin was killed by a rival drug dealer over money.

Cantu’s execution was the first in Texas this year. On Tuesday, February 27, two lower courts denied his request to stay his execution. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles previously voted 7-0 against commuting the suspect’s death sentence to a lesser penalty. A four-month reprieve was also rejected.

Several faith leaders and celebrities supported Cantu and called for efforts to delay his execution, including Kim Kardashian and actor Martin Sheen, and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, and his brother, former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro.

The murders

As per reports, police found bloody jeans with the victims’ DNA and a key to the victims’ home in Cantu’s home after the murder. The gun’s barrel also had Mosqueda’s blood on it. Cantu’s fingerprints were reportedly discovered on the gun’s magazine.

Matthew Goeller, one of Cantu’s trial attorneys, said in a 2005 affidavit that Cantu admitted to him “he had indeed killed Mosqueda for ‘ripping him off’ on a drug deal.” He allegedly said he killed Kitchen because she witnessed the murder.

Amy Boettcher, who was Cantu’s girlfriend at the time, testified that he told her he was planning to kill Mosqueda and Kitchen. She alleged Cantu took her back to the crime scene after the murders.

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