On Thursday, Texas State District Judge Maria Teresa Herr set a July 7, 2011 execution date for Humberto Leal Jr., 37. The Mexican national was convicted of the 1994 rape and murder of 16-year-old Adria Sauceda.
Leal raped the girl in a field in San Antonio, before bashing her head in with a rock.
During Leal’s 1995 trial, defense attorneys actually claimed that the teenager had caused her own death by falling and hitting her head on a rock, after she attacked Leal. The jury was not moved by his story and deliberated for less than an hour before finding him guilty.
In addition to his criminal defense team, an attorney representing the Mexican Consulate stood with Leal at Thursday’s proceeding.
Mexico does not have the death penalty and opposes its use in all cases. In fact, they have a standing policy not to extradite criminals to the U.S., without an assurance that prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.
Leal is one of 51 Mexican nationals currently sitting on death rows throughout the U.S.
In 2008, President George W. Bush infuriated dozens of victims’ families by placing a hold on all 51 executions and ordering reviews of their cases, after the International Court of Justice at The Hague complained that the men had not been given proper opportunity to seek advice from their respective Mexican Consulate offices.
The Supreme Court later overturned Bush’s order. Since that time, one of the Mexican nationals was executed in Texas.