Stop the Execution of Ivan Cantu in Texas
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles & Governor Greg Abbott
NEW EXECUTION DATE: Ivan Cantu has been rescheduled for execution in Texas for allegedly killing his cousin, James Mosqueda, and his cousin's fiancé, Amy Kitchen. Ivan has always maintained his innocence. His new execution date is February 28, 2024.
- On March 31, 2023, Ivan's mother Sylvia held a press conference to call for a halt to the execution and a fair trial for her son.
- NEW (4/7/23): Clemency Application & Clemency Application Appendices (Most notable - Appendix 10, affidavit of trial juror expressing concern about evidence issues).
- NEW (4/18/23): FIRST SUBSEQUENT APPLICATION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, MOTION FOR STAY OF EXECUTION, MOTION FOR WITHDRAWAL OF EXECUTION DATE
- NEW (4/19/23): Declaration of Juror Mantra Marie Biggs; Declaration of Juror Maurice Roger Jacob
For over 3 years, the Cousins By Blood Podcast has investigated Ivan's capital murder case and innocence claim. Watch a two minute video from Matt Duff, Ivan's investigator, which condenses a 24 minute video that is also new. The 24 minute video (referenced in the clemency application) attempts to condense more than 30 podcasts down to the most basic issues in the case, which are:
Issues of concern:
- Evidence showing the state’s star witness committed perjury.
- After Cantu’s conviction, the prosecution withheld evidence from the defense for 11 years.
- Evidence that the prosecution and investigating officers improperly coached witnesses.
- Post-conviction DNA testing could not definitively establish Cantu was wearing the clothing admitted into evidence. - According to multiple forensic pathologists, there is at least a 6 hour difference in the victim’s time of death and when the state’s star witness testified the murders occurred.
- While the state utilized five experts, the defense requested zero experts.
- Trial counsel called no witnesses during the guilt/innocence phase and presented no exculpatory evidence. - Trial counsel did not interview witnesses on the state’s witness list prior to trial. - Trial counsel conceded his guilt during the closing argument. - Trial counsel did not request a defense investigator, nor conduct any independent investigation.
STATE WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
- Counsel was not communicative with Cantu and rendered ineffective assistance by failing to challenge trial counsel’s performance at the guilt/innocence phase of trial.
To learn more about Ivan's case, head over to the Cousins By Blood Podcast. The podcast is also available for downloads on all major podcast platforms.
Texas' aggressive execution schedule marks it as an outlier in its use of the death penalty while the majority of other states are on a downward trend of executions. In the last few years, Texas has been one of only a handful of states that have carried out death sentences - and it continues to do so targeting the poor, the mentally ill and people of color.
Please sign the petition asking Governor Abbott and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to do everything within their power to stop this execution, including issuing a stay, and seeking a path to clemency in the case.
Additionally, you may reach out now to the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org and the Governor at https://gov.texas.gov/contact/ and (512) 463-1782. You can simply leave a voice message, or choose to speak to a representative if you prefer.
Please note: In Texas, the Governor does have limited power when it comes to the death penalty. But the story we are told that "it's out of the governor's hands," is only true if we allow it to be. Yes, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles must recommend clemency in that state in order for the Governor to grant clemency (mercy) by commuting a death sentence. But the fact is that the governor appoints the members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles. He can choose to appoint members who will take valid claims and concerns more seriously, instead of acting like rubber-stamping gate-keepers. He can still use his position of power and influence to enact justice in the State of Texas.
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles & Governor Greg Abbott
From: [Your Name]
We are writing to ask that you to stop the April 26, 2023 execution of Ivan Cantu for the 2001 killings of James Mosqueda and Amy Kitchen.
Executing Ivan Cantu when there are numerous concerns about the veracity of the case against him is utterly irresponsible. If we are to continue executing individuals, we must be absolutely certain that the right person is behind bars, and in Ivan Cantu's case, there is too much doubt.
In Cantu’s case, there is evidence that the state’s star witness committed multiple counts of perjury. The prosecution and investigating officers improperly coached witnesses and withheld evidence from the defense. Cantu believes he received a raw deal from his own defense counsel, as well. Against Cantu’s wishes, the defense did not hire a private investigator, call any witnesses to dispute the state’s case, or present any evidence on Cantu’s behalf, and conceded Cantu’s guilt in the closing arguments.
"I never committed murder, and I want to prove it to the world, prove it to the Mosquedas, the Kitchens, and come home. I still have a life to live.”— Ivan Cantu, Death Row Inmate TDCJ#00999399
We are further concerned that while the vast majority of states with capital punishment continue on a downward trend of executions, Texas has continued to go against trend by carrying on an aggressive execution schedule - targeting the poor, the mentally ill and people of color.
We, the undersigned, ask that you do everything within your power to stop this execution, including issuing a stay, and seeking a path to clemency in the case.