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Stay Denied for Serial Killer

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"For Samuel Bustamante and his buddies, shopping did not mean a trip to the mall. It meant hunting illegal immigrants, then beating and robbing them," AP writer Michael Graczyk reported yesterday. Today the U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay.

Update: Justice was carried out as scheduled. AP story here.

More from yesterday's AP story after the jump.

In a taped confession to detectives, Bustamante said he and three friends -- Dedrick Depriest and brothers Walter and Arthur Escamilla, all from El Campo -- spent the day in January 1998 eating and drinking and then decided to go "shopping" in Rosenberg, 40 miles to the northeast, to pick up an illegal immigrant about 2 a.m. as bars were closing. Alvarado emerged from a Rosenberg bar, approached the pickup driven by Arthur Escamilla and offered to pay for a ride home to nearby Richmond.

Alvarado joined Walter Escamilla and Bustamante in the bed of the truck and they drove off. After a few minutes and along a deserted Fort Bend County road, Bustamante told officers that he pulled a knife and began stabbing Alvarado as Escamilla held him down. Alvarado managed to break free and bail out of the speeding truck into the nighttime darkness.

Bustamante ordered the truck stopped so he could steal Alvarado's boots, but they couldn't find the victim in the dark and eventually left.

Police following a trail of blood the next morning found Alvarado's body in a ditch. The Mexican man had been stabbed at least 10 times, including wounds to his heart and liver.

Two months later, with Bustamante jailed on an unrelated charge in his home Wharton County, authorities notified Rosenberg police after receiving a tip he was involved in Alvarado's slaying.

"I don't need a judge and I don't need a jury to tell me I'm guilty," Bustamante, a former oil field worker, told detectives on the tape.

At the time, he and his brother, Bill, were charged with the beating and stabbing death of Lloyd Harold Turner, a 63-year-old man who lived under a highway overpass near El Campo. Bill Bustamante, who told authorities of other "shopping trips," took a 40-year prison term in a plea agreement in the Turner case.

Like the Alvarado slaying, Samuel Bustamante said he stabbed the homeless man. His brother beat the victim with a baseball bat in an attack spurred by a desire to "workout some aggravation," according to their confession.

1 Comment

Stay denied and justice carried out. Given this guy's MO, it seems that a mental retardation claim was simply bogus.

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