The violent life of Mexican national Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas ended yesterday. Hernandez-Llanas was given the lethal injection Wednesday 16 years after killing a Texas university professor. Hernandez-Llanas had fled to the United States from a Mexican prison, where he was being held for murdering another man.
The 44-year-old fugitive was living in the U.S. undocumented when he was arrested in October 1997 for killing 49-year-old Glen Lich, a former Baylor University history professor, WFAA reports. He had also attacked Lich’s wife.
Hernandez-Llanas knew Lich because the professor had given him a job helping with renovations at Lich’s ranch outside of San Antonio in exchange for lodgings.
Hernandez-Llanas told Lich there was a problem with the generator, luring him from his home and clubbing him with a piece of steel rebar. He also attacked Lich’s wife with a knife.
Hernandez-Llanas has also been connected to a rape and a stabbing.
The man was lethally injected while his brother, a sister, and two friends looked on. He thanked them and blew kisses during his final statement, which lasted almost five minutes.
"I'm happy ... I am sorry for what I have done," he said, speaking in Spanish. "I'm looking at the angel of God."
"I say this with a lot of love and happiness: I have no pain and no guilt. All I have is love."
More than the usual controversy has surrounded Hernandez-Llanas’ death penalty sentence. The International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled in 2004 that Mexican citizens awaiting execution in the U.S., of which there are more than a dozen, hadn’t been properly counseled. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled to enforce that ruling, but Congress did not act on the measure.
The Mexican government's Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the execution in a statement immediately prior.
"This is the fourth case of a Mexican being executed in clear violation of the judgment of the International Court of Justice," the ministry said. "The Government of Mexico expresses its most vigorous protest at the failure to comply."
Hernandez-Llanas was known by prison guards as a dangerous man who kept homemade weapons in his cell and slashed another prisoner with a razor blade while awaiting trial.
“This is exactly why we have the death penalty," said Lucy Wilke, an assistant Kerr County district attorney who helped prosecute Hernandez-Llanas. "Nobody, even prison guards, is safe from him."