A Texas man convicted of slaying and drinking the blood of a 12-year-old boy in 1998 was executed by the state on April 6.
Pablo Lucio Vasquez said he remembered getting drunk and high and then leaving a party in April 1998, when he was 20 years old, with his 15-year-old cousin, Rafael Chapa, and Chapa's 12-year-old friend, David Cardenas, reports The Associated Press.
Vasquez then recalled hearing voices telling him to kill the younger boy. He then bludgeoned the child in the head with a pipe and cut his throat, lifting the boy, still conscious, so the blood would fall into his mouth.
"Something just told me to drink," Vasquez recalled in a videotaped confession to police in Texas. When a detective asked what he was drinking, Vasquez clarified that it was the victim's blood. During the initial investigation, police believed the crime was related to a Satanic cult, though evidence supporting that theory never emerged.
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"They decided they were going to try to take his head off with a shovel and didn't realize that it was a lot more difficult to cut someone's head off," Joseph Orendain, the lead prosecutor in Vasquez's trial, said, recalling the details of the case. "It was a mutilated body left behind," he said, adding that the crime was "horrendous."
Was executed by lethal injection 18 years after the murder took place. Vasquez's lawyers had filed a last-minute appeal to halt the execution, claiming that prospective jurors were dismissed if they had moral or religious objections to the death penalty, according to Reuters. Previously, the defense had argued that Vasquez suffered from mental health problems and learning disabilities.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to stop the execution, reports Reuters.
Vasquez's execution was the sixth in Texas and 11th in the U.S. in 2016. Chapa, who was 15 at the time of the crime, who helped Vasquez to decapitate the victim, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to a 35-year prison term. Three of Vasquez and Chapa's other relatives received probation and fines for their roles in covering up the murder.