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Archive for Monday, November 21, 2005

Report: Texas may have executed wrong man

November 21, 2005

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— A decade after Ruben Cantu was executed for capital murder, the only witness to the crime is recanting and his co-defendant says Cantu, then 17, wasn't even with him that night.

The victim was shot nine times with a rifle during an attempted robbery before the gunman unloaded more rounds into the only witness.

That witness, Juan Moreno, told the Houston Chronicle for its Sunday editions that Cantu wasn't the killer. Moreno said he only identified him at the 1985 trial because he felt pressured and was afraid of authorities.

The doubts now being raised come too late for Cantu. He had long professed his innocence but was executed in Texas on Aug. 24, 1993, at the age of 26.

"You've got a 17-year-old who went to his grave for something he did not do. Texas murdered an innocent person," Cantu's co-defendant, David Garza, said.

Garza, who was 15 at the time of the murder, recently signed a sworn affidavit saying he allowed his friend to be accused even though Cantu wasn't with him the night of the killing.

The Chronicle reviewed hundreds of court and police documents in its investigation of the case.

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