texas executes ivan cantu despite maintained innocence and doubts about conviction

Dallas, Texas – Texas executed Ivan Cantu on Wednesday for the murders of his cousin, James Mosqueda, and Mosqueda’s girlfriend, Amy Kitchen, in 2000. At 50 years old, Cantu was put to death by lethal injection at 6:47 pm local time after being convicted of the double homicide.

Despite proclaiming his innocence until the end, Cantu addressed the families of the victims in his final speech, denying any involvement in the killings. Prosecutors maintained that Cantu murdered Mosqueda, who was involved in illegal drug dealing, and Kitchen during a robbery at his cousin’s home in north Dallas.

Cantu’s attorneys argued that false testimony was presented at his trial, including from witnesses who later recanted their statements. They also claimed to have uncovered new evidence supporting Cantu’s assertion that Mosqueda was targeted and killed by rival individuals who also threatened Cantu over his cousin’s alleged debts.

The jury foreman from Cantu’s trial in 2001 expressed doubts about the conviction and called for further investigation before the execution. A petition from MoveOn.org, gathering nearly 150,000 signatures, urged Texas Governor Greg Abbott to stop the execution but was ultimately unsuccessful.

Capital punishment remains a divisive issue in the United States, with 23 states having abolished it and some states placing a temporary hold on its use. Cantu’s execution followed that of Alabama inmate Kenneth Smith, who was executed using nitrogen gas – a first in US history – just a month prior.