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Texas prisoner set to die for killing cellmate

Posted in Related Deaths
5-18-2010 Texas:

LIVINGSTON, Texas — Rogelio Cannady was serving a pair of life prison sentences for killing teenage sweethearts in the Rio Grande Valley when the fatal beating of his cellmate put him on death row.

Cannady, 37, was set to die Wednesday evening in Huntsville for the slaying nearly 17 years ago. He was the first inmate condemned under a state law that allowed prosecutors to seek the death penalty for inmates accused of murder. Cannady says his confession to the initial slayings had been coerced, and that the wrongful conviction led him to death row.

"I should never have been in prison to begin with," the soft-spoken Cannady said in an interview with The Associated Press.

On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed in February. His lawyers have another pending in the federal courts.

Cannady was condemned for the Oct. 10, 1993, killing of Leovigildo Bonal, 55, with whom he shared a cell at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice McConnell Unit in Beeville.

Records show Cannady punched Bonal, beat him with a padlock and kicked him repeatedly until he fell unconscious.

Cannady insists the older inmate — also convicted of murder — made sexual advances toward him and that the beating was in self-defense.

"I think anybody would have done the same thing, fight to protect themselves,"
he told The Associated Press recently from death row.

Corrections officers found Bonal on the floor of the blood-covered cell, and he died two days later.

Cannady was charged with capital murder under a 1993 law intended to ease prison violence.

He had arrived in prison about 2 1/2 years earlier, serving two life sentences, after pleading guilty to the 1990 murders of two runaways from a youth home.

Ricardo Garcia, 16, of Freer, and 13-year-old Ana Robles of Brownsville, were found dead in an irrigation canal near La Feria, about 30 miles northwest of Brownsville. Cannady was among four teenagers convicted in the slayings that left Garcia stabbed 13 times and Robles raped and strangled.

Herbert Hancock, the prosecutor in the prison slaying case, said he believed Cannady should have been tried for capital murder in the double slaying.

Cannady "took her by the hair and cut her throat and threw her in the bayou," Hancock said. "The young boy she was with was her boyfriend. And because he was a witness, they took him out at a different time, took him to the same bayou, cut his throat and threw him in the bayou — just execution style."

"He's very dangerous," Hancock said

Cannady has had numerous disciplinary cases in recent years on death row, including two last month for assault.

Trying to hold back the tears, Cannady told the AP he did not believe his final appeal would succeed.

"I don't hide from the truth. The odds against me are huge," he said.

His execution would be the 10th this year in the nation's most active capital punishment state.

Also scheduled for execution is John Alba, 54, facing lethal injection May 25 for gunning down his 28-year-old estranged wife Wendy in Allen in Collin County in 1991. ..Source.. by MICHAEL GRACZYK

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