Clipped From The Daily Herald
U.S. set to execute prisoner DruglordtodiemsamtabkasMcyei^i Reuters TERRE HAUTE, hid. — Mexican- born 1 drug warlord Juan Raul Garza lost two final appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court arid WE& refused presidential clemency Monday, clearing the way for his execution today. The 44-year-old'Garza's last hope for reprieve was a plea for clemency to President Bush, but the White House 'announced Bush found no grounds to commute his death sentence to Ufeiri prison. Garza spent his 'last day in the small, windowless death house at the U.S. Penitentiary near Terre Haute, in the same room where Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh waited out his final hours before being executed one week ago. Garza, a U.S. citizen, was to be put ' to death by lethal injection, strapped to the same padded table where McVeigh died r just^ steps from the holding cell. The execution — only the secbrid by the federal government in 38 years — was scheduled for 7 a.m. He was sentenced to die for committing a drug-related murder and ordering two others killed as leader of a Texas-based marijuana smuggling ring. He admitted the crimes and prosecutors described him as a vicious dictatorial gang leader who didn't hesitate to wipe our rivals or suspected traitors. In a letter delivered to the White House Monday, Garza's lawyers urged Bush.to reduce the sentence to life without the possibility of parole. It said the sentencing phase of Garza's trial violated an Organization of American States treaty on human rights — something with which the U.S. government had already said it disagrees. The letter said Garza's execution "may also have adverse consequences for our future relations with Juan Raul Garza the government of Mexico," because that country would not have agreed to his extradition if it knew he faced a death penalty trial. Mexico has not carried out an execution in about a half century. The Supreme Court Monday : rejected an appeal based on the OAS • treaty argument, as well as a second i one based on jury instructions. Garza's case and the McVeigh execution have sharpened the capital punishment debate in the United States and continued to trigger international criticism. The Mexican government intervened in an Oklahoma case where a Mexican man, Gerardo Valdez Mota, was to die for a killing. Gov. Frank Keating ordered a 30-day stay after President Vicente Foxsaid the prisoner's rights were not honored under international law at the time of his arrest. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, meanwhile, angered death penalty foes by vetoing legislation that would have banned the execution of mentally retarded • people in the state. Perry said existing law provided all of the protection needed in such cases. Garza, who grew up in a migrant worker family in the Brownsville, Texas, area, said goodbye to his family during the weekend, the Terre Haute Tribune-Star reported. The newspaper also said his fellow death row inmates planned to mark the hour of his execution with hymn singing and prayers — as they did eight days before when McVeigh died. Death penalty foes planned a march to the prison Monday evening but the attention being focused on Garza was minimal compared to McVeigh's execution.