A Mexican citizen on death row in Texas was executed Wednesday night for the slaying of his 16-year-old cousin, who was abducted from her family's apartment and fatally beaten. Ruben Ramirez Cardenas, 47, was given a lethal injection after several federal court appeals failed to halt his punishment for the February 1997 killing of Mayra Laguna. Asked by the warden to make a final statement, he replied, "No, sir," the AP reports. As the lethal dose of pentobarbital began, he took a couple of breaths and then began snoring. After less than a minute, all movement stopped. Twenty-one minutes later, at 10:26pm CST, he was pronounced dead, making him the seventh convicted killer put to death this year in Texas,
Laguna was snatched from a bedroom she shared with a younger sister at her family's apartment in McAllen in south Texas. In a confession to police, Cardenas said he and a friend drove around with the high school student in his mother's car. He said he had sex with the teen and then punched her as she fought him after he unbound her arms to let her go. He said after he hit the teen in the neck, she began coughing up blood and having difficulty breathing. After trying unsuccessfully to revive her, he said he tied her up "and rolled her down a canal bank." Cardenas' attorney, Maurie Levin, contended eyewitness testimony against Cardenas was shaky, that little physical evidence tied him to the killing, and that his confession was obtained after 22 hours of isolation and intense police questioning.
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