Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Ivan Cantu

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A jury found Cantu guilty of capital murder in October 2001 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in 2004.

Cantu maintained his innocence in his appeals. In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court granted him a stay of execution based on his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. The lower courts reconsidered his case and then upheld his conviction and death sentence.

Following Amy Boettcher's death in 2021, Cantu's lawyers raised new appeals challenging her credibility and seeking additional DNA testing. He received another stay of execution in 2023. The courts subsequently rejected his claims on the merits and allowed his execution to be rescheduled.

Cantu's case was recently publicized in a podcast called "Cousins By Blood." Celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Martin Sheen joined activists advocating for another stay of execution based on what they called "new evidence."

In a last-ditch round of appeals this week, Cantu's lawyers re-raised the same claims as in 2023. This time, they were rejected outright. In a concurring opinion issued the day before Cantu's execution, Judge Edith Jones of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decried the "gamesmanship" of Cantu and his attorneys.

"A reasonable person must conclude that the primary reason for raising these claims at the eleventh hour is to beleaguer the courts and cause some jurist somewhere to blink and grant a stay of execution," Jones wrote.

"I want you to know that I never killed James and Amy," Cantu said from the death chamber to Kitchen's friends and relatives who came to witness his execution. "And if I did, if I knew who did, you would've been the first to know any information I would've had that would've helped to bring justice to James and Amy I would've shared."

Cantu announced that his execution was not going to bring closure to the victims' loved ones. "This is not going to help you guys and I want you to know from me that it never occurred. No. I want all of you to know that I did not kill James and Amy."

Next, Cantu thanked his attorney, his mother, and Sister Helen Prejean, his spiritual advisor, who was at his side during his execution. He finished his last statement at 6:23 p.m. and told the warden he was ready. The lethal injection was then started. He stopped breathing at 6:29 p.m. He was pronounced dead at 6:47 p.m.


By David Carson. Posted on 29 February 2024.
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, court documents, Associated Press, Huntsville Item.

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