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Texas Execution

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Tim Madigan reports in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "Barring a last-minute intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court, former Army recruiter Cleve Foster will be executed by injection today for the 2002 rape-slaying in Fort Worth of a Sudanese immigrant."

Attorneys for Foster maintain he is innocent, but they have one small problem: DNA.  "'Foster was undoubtedly a participant in this murder,' [AG] Abbott's filing said. 'He offers no credible explanation for how his semen wound up in the victim's vagina.'"

Foster and his roommate/codefendant Sheldon Ward

were also linked to the death of Rachel Urnosky, 22, a Texas Tech graduate who had moved to North Texas for a job. Two months before Pal's slaying, Urnosky was found dead in her Fort Worth apartment, raped and shot in the head. Ballistic evidence showed that Ward's handgun was used in the killing.

Pal's family could not be reached. On Christmas Day, Urnosky's relatives issued a statement in which they "vehemently opposed" Foster's request for clemency, which was turned down Friday by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

"Our lives are forever altered by this premeditated crime against not just our daughter, Rachel, but another young woman, Miss Pal, both in the prime of their young lives," the statement said.

Ward was also sentence to death but died of natural causes.  The stay application docket is here.

Update:  The Supreme Court has granted a stay pending its disposition of the certiorari petition. Justices Scalia and Alito note they would have denied the stay.

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More nonsense. Cleve Foster had all of his state appeals, and his habeas petition was denied months ago. There are no innocence issues, and once again we have a last-minute stay request. This execution date has been set for a while. Once again, seven Members of the Supreme Court prove their irresponsibility and lawlessness. It's high time the federal courts got out of overseeing the state execution business.

Other than Scalia and Alito, the rest of this Court owes the victims' families an apology.

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