HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) â€” Protests from foreign officials failed to halt the execution of a Mexican-born man condemned for abducting and fatally stabbing a 20-year-old college student more than 11 years ago.
Miguel Flores, 31, received a lethal injection Thursday night after thanking his attorneys, expressing love to his relatives and asking forgiveness from his victim's family, who watched through a window a few feet away.
``I want to say I am sorry and I say a prayer today for you so you can have peace and I hope that you can forgive me,'' Flores said, looking at the parents of his victim, Angela Marie Tyson. Seven minutes later, he was pronounced dead.
The punishment was carried out about five hours after the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to deny Flores' request for a reprieve. Earlier this week, both the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused to halt the execution, the 35th this year in the nation's most active death penalty state.
``I hope I can spend my time thinking about my daughter instead of relating it to an animal like this,'' said the victim's mother, Gerald Tyson. ``Anyone who can do something like this has got to be an animal or have something wrong with him.''
Flores, who was born in Juarez, Mexico, but raised across the border in El Paso, admitted killing the Eastern New Mexico University student as she left her summer job at a video store in 1989.
But his backers argued that when Flores was arrested, he was not allowed to contact the Mexican consulate as called for under the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations. Diplomats from Sweden, France and the European Union, along with Mexican government officials, made unsuccessful pleas to Gov. George W. Bush and the Texas parole board.
The Mexican foreign secretariat, which had petitioned Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the execution, issued a news release Thursday saying it ``regrets the decision of Texas authorities'' and would soon send a formal note of protest to the U.S. government.
The State Department has said that even if there was a failure to inform Flores, it is not sufficient cause to overturn the sentence.
``The clemency process in Texas is a farce and a fraud,'' one of Flores' attorneys, Richard Ellis, said.
Flores' supporters also criticized testimony from a psychiatrist who concluded Flores would be a danger to society â€” one factor a jury considers in deciding on the death penalty â€” without meeting the defendant.
Three more executions are set for next week as Texas closes in on the record 37 inmates the state put to death in 1997.