Texas set to put to death man who received three stays of execution

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 25, 2012 12:35 PM
Texas set to put to death man who received three stays of execution

(Reuters) - Texas is set to put to death Tuesday a man who has received three stays of execution and is requesting a fourth from the U.S. Supreme Court because of questions about the representation he received from defense lawyers.

Cleve Foster, 48, was convicted along with an accomplice of the 2002 murder and rape of Nyanuer "Mary" Pal, whose naked body was found in a ditch, according to a report by the Texas Attorney General's office.

The U.S. Supreme Court a year ago granted a temporary stay of execution just 2-1/2 hours before Foster was to be put to death by lethal injection. It was the third stay of execution from the high court for Foster, who also was granted a delays in January and April 2011.

Foster's lawyers have asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a fourth stay of execution, the high court said on Tuesday. The execution is scheduled for after 6 p.m. local time at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.

Foster's accomplice in the murder, Shelton Ward, died of brain cancer on death row in 2010. Foster maintained in his trial that Ward acted alone, and that contact between him and the victim was consensual.

The two men and Pal were regulars at Fat Albert's bar in Fort Worth when, the night before Valentine's Day in 2002, bartenders said Pal walked out with them, according to the report. Pal left in her car and the men followed closely behind in Foster's truck.

Eight hours later, Pal's body was found with a gunshot wound to the head and wadded-up duct tape nearby, according to the report.

Foster would be the 30th person executed in the United States this year and the ninth in Texas.

Texas has executed more than four times as many people as any other state since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

(Reporting By Corrie MacLaggan and Terry Baynes; Writing by Greg McCune)