US & Canada

Texas executes Mexican Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas

File photo of convicted killer Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas Image copyright AP
Image caption Hernandez-Llanas will be the second Texas prisoner executed this week

A man who escaped from prison while serving a murder sentence in Mexico has been executed by the US state of Texas for a separate 1997 killing.

Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas, 44, was in the US illegally when he killed a former university professor who had hired him to help with renovations on his home.

The execution by lethal injection went ahead after Texas' parole and pardons board refused to delay his case.

Hernandez-Llanas is the sixth Texas prisoner executed this year.

He was the second person this week to be executed in the state by lethal injection with a new supply of pentobarbital.

Earlier this week, a US appeals court rejected a bid by lawyers for Hernandez-Llanas and another death row inmate, Tommy Lynn Sells, to learn who is supplying Texas with the drug.

They argue they need to know the source to ensure the executions will not be botched.

But Texas officials have refused to identify the source of the sedative, saying secrecy is needed to protect the provider from threats of violence.

Mental impairment claim

Hernandez-Llanas was pronounced dead at 18:28 local time (23:28 GMT) at the Texas state death chamber in Huntsville.

In a final statement, he asked forgiveness from the victim's family and said he was at peace, the Associated Press news agency reports.

In 1997, Glen Lich, 49, hired Hernandez-Llanas to work for him to help renovate his ranch near the city of Kerrville.

Unbeknownst to Lich, Hernandez-Llanas had recently escaped from a Mexican prison where he was serving a 25-year sentence for a 1989 murder.

Several days later, Hernandez-Llanas lured Lich away from his house by telling him falsely there was a problem with a generator. He beat the man to death with a length of steel rebar, then entered the house and attacked Lich's wife.

Sentenced in 2000 for Lich's murder, he was among more than four dozen Mexican nationals awaiting execution in the US in 2004 when the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled they had not been properly informed of their consular rights when arrested.

Another one of those Mexican nationals, Edgar Tamayo, 46, was executed by Texas in January despite objections of both the Mexican and US governments.

Euclides del Moral, a Mexico foreign ministry official, said on Tuesday "the execution of a Mexican national is of great concern".

But the issue did not play a large part in Hernandez-Llanas' appeals, which focused primarily on claims that his mental impairment made him ineligible for the death penalty.

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