Texas to execute gang member Vasquez for murder

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 11, 2015 7:06 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas is set on Wednesday to execute Manuel Vasquez, 48, a gang member convicted of murdering a woman because she would not pay extortion money demanded by the criminal organization.

He is set to be put to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. at the state's death chamber in Huntsville.

If the execution goes ahead, it would be the 522nd in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

Vasquez and two co-defendants were convicted of strangling Juanita Ybarra, 51, in 1998 for not paying a 10 percent cut of her drug sales to the Mexican Mafia gang, the attorney general's office said.

The two co-defendents testified against Vasquez and received lesser sentences.

Vasquez has a long criminal history, including being part of a group that killed a man by pummeling him with a crowbar, dousing him with gasoline and setting him afire, the attorney general's office said.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz)