HUNTSVILLE, Texas - A Mexican national was executed yesterday for the rape and slaying of a San Antonio teenager after the US Supreme Court turned down a White House-supported appeal to spare him in a death penalty case where Texas justice triumphed over international treaty concerns.
Humberto Leal, 38, received lethal injection for the 1994 murder of Adria Sauceda. She was fatally bludgeoned with a piece of asphalt.
Leal moved with his family from Monterrey, Mexico, to the United States as a toddler. Police never told Leal following his arrest that he could seek legal assistance from the Mexican government under an international treaty. His case had prompted appeals on what it could mean for other foreigners arrested in the United States and for Americans detained in other countries. His lawyers said such assistance would have helped his defense.
The argument was not new. Texas has executed other condemned foreign nationals who raised similar challenges, most recently in 2008.
Leal’s appeals focused on legislation introduced last month in the Senate by Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont. Leahy’s measure would bring the United States into compliance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations provision regarding the arrests of foreign nationals and ensure court reviews for foreigners to determine whether the lack of consular help made a difference a case’s outcome.