Sentenced to death seeks a new trial after evidence 5:08

(CNN Spanish) --

Iván Cantú has been on "death row" in Texas for more than 20 years.

His execution is scheduled for the night of February 28.

But he insists on his innocence and demands a review of the case.

Cantú, a man of Latin roots, was sentenced to the death penalty in 2001, after being found guilty of the double homicide of his cousin, James Mosqueda, and Mosqueda's fiancée, Amy Kitchen, which occurred in 2000.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Cantú was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1973. He was 27 years old when he was charged with the homicides and worked as a laborer.

Now, at 50 years old and having spent the last 22 years in prison, his fate could be defined in the coming days, if the planned execution takes place.

However, both he and various organizations raised concerns about the case and asked for revisions.

  • Days before his execution, Iván Cantú, sentenced to death in Texas, insists that he is innocent of double murder

Amnesty International said in a statement that "a recent independent investigation has compounded doubts about the adequacy of her legal representation at trial and raised questions about the testimony of the state's key witness and the physical evidence that appeared to corroborate her testimony."


Iván Cantú is seen before an interview on February 21, 2024. (CNN)

"International safeguards prohibit the imposition of the death penalty on any person whose conviction is not based on 'clear and convincing evidence that leaves no room for an alternative explanation of the facts,'" the statement said.

According to an interview conducted by CNN, Cantú and his lawyer argue that the state's key witnesses – Cantú's then-girlfriend and his brother – gave false testimony at the trial.

Additionally, they say the newly discovered evidence corroborates a story Cantú told at the time of the murders, suggesting that his cousin was murdered by rival drug dealers who threatened Cantú the night before.

With these data, Cantú's defense requested a hearing and awaits the decision of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on a possible pardon, although the final decision is the governor's, and he is not obliged to define himself.

In the US, since 1976, when the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, states have executed 1,583 people and 294 pardons have been granted.

  • This is what you should know about the death penalty in the United States

What were the crimes like and why were Cantú accused?

Mosqueda and Kitchen were murdered on November 4, 2000 at their home in Dallas.

The bodies were found with multiple gunshot wounds in the couple's bedroom.

When the bodies were found, Cantú and his girlfriend, Amy Boettcher, were in Arkansas.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, a non-governmental organization dedicated to providing information on the subject, in the trial against Cantú "the prosecution relied heavily on the testimony of Amy Boettcher, Mr. "Cantu, who testified that he committed the murders, drove her to the crime scene and then took her on a trip to Arkansas."

But "new evidence uncovered by a private investigator and others now casts doubt on the validity of Mr. Cantú's conviction."

The private investigator in question is Matt Duff, who, as CNN reported, uncovered much of the evidence that now supports Cantú's claim of innocence and documented his independent review in a podcast.

With reporting by Ed Lavandera, Dakin Andone and Ashley Killough

death penalty