Police in Texas stopped at a convenience store 20 years ago and told two men that were drunk to find a ride home. Ruben Ramirez Cardenas and his friend Jose Antonio Lopez Castillo were picked up but quickly dropped off their designated driver.
Cardenas and his friend went to his home, but only to get a bottle of brandy, and then continued on to an apartment where his 16-year-old cousin Mayra Laguna lived about 10 miles away. Laguna was later found in Texas Rio Grande Valley beaten to death and her body dumped on a bank in the canal.
Cardenas is now 47 and a Mexican citizen who grew up in Texas Rio Grande Valley where Laguna's body was found. He is currently on death row waiting to be executed Wednesday for abducting and murdering Laguna in February 1997. Cardenas execution will be the seventh this year in Texas which is known to carry out the death penalty more than any other state.
Attorneys for Cardenas are working to stay his execution and have filed multiple federal court appeals. They argued against the state already saying a new DNA test would prove to be more reliable than the previous ones but their appeal was rejected.
Cardenas himself admitted to raping and beating her eventually causing her to cough up blood and stop breathing. "I then lost it and started punching her on the face," he said in an interview with detectives. After attempts to revive her failed, he said he tied her up "and rolled her down a canal bank."
Cardenas friend was also convicted of aggravated kidnapping and is serving 25 years in prison.
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