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KEATING issues stay in case of Mexican national

Updated:
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Gov. Frank Keating issued a 30-day stay of execution Saturday for a Mexican national set to die for shooting, stabbing and burning a man he said made homosexual advances toward him.

Keating issued the stay after speaking by telephone Saturday morning to Mexican President Vincente Fox, who made a personal plea that Gerardo Valdez's death sentence be commuted to life without the possibility of parole.

``In light of the sensitivity and significance of this matter, I think it is appropriate for my office to continue its review of the Valdez case,'' Keating said in a statement released Saturday afternoon.

The state Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-1 to recommend commuting the death sentence of Valdez who was scheduled to die by injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester on Tuesday.

The Mexican government already had asked Keating to grant clemency, arguing that Valdez was not notified of his right to contact the Mexican consulate after his arrest, in violation of international law.

``Officials of the U.S. State Department have acknowledged that the failure of Mr. Valdez to speak with the consulate violated the Vienna Convention, and they have asked that I take it into consideration when determining whether to grant clemency,'' Keating said in his statement.

``Nevertheless, State Department officials concur that the violation should not be the sole determining factor here. I am considering the possible impact of that violation and weighing it against the brutality of Mr. Valdez's admitted crime.''

Juan Jose Bremer, the Mexican ambassador to the United States, said the government of Mexico did not learn about Valdez's case until April 19 _ 11 years after he was sentenced to death.

Valdez killed Juan Barron because Barron made homosexual advances toward him, according to authorities.

Valdez met the victim in an Anadarko bar where both men were drinking. Valdez took Barron to his home, forced him to take off his clothes, then preached to him that the Bible condemned homosexuality.

Valdez threatened to castrate Barron and made him undress. After unsuccessfully searching for a rope to bind Barron, Valdez shot him twice in the head. He then stabbed him in the neck and burned his body in his back yard, according to court documents.

Valdez later confessed to friends and authorities.

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