Convict gets last-minute reprieve

March 21, 2002 at 10:07 PM
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HUNTSVILLE, Texas, March 21 (UPI) -- Convicted killer Rodolfo Hernandez received a 30-day reprieve from the governor Thursday, only minutes before his scheduled execution for the murder of an undocumented immigrant in 1985.

Hernandez was informed only two minutes before the execution procedure was to begin that Gov. Rick Perry had granted the stay at the request of San

Antonio police, a prison official said. The police believe the 52-year-old San Antonio man has information about some unsolved slayings in the city.

"I sure feel like eating now," Hernandez said, before finishing his last meal of two cheeseburgers and French fries and heading back to death row in

Livingston, Texas.

Hernandez, who lost his left leg to complications of diabetes last July, said he had faith in God that things would turn out right.

"I feel relieved," he said. "Now I can breathe."

Hernandez, who uses a walker and a wheelchair, requested an artifical limb so he could walk to his execution but his request was denied. Prison

officials said doctors could not fit him with the prostheses because of a recurring infection in the wound where his leg was amputed below the knee.

Hernanez was scheduled to receive a lethal injection for the murder of Victor Cervan on March 7, 1985 in a secluded area north of San Antonio.

Cervan and four other illegal immigrants were ordered out of a car by Hernandez and an associate and told to lie face up on the ground. Hernandez

then shot each one in the neck as he robbed them, leaving them bleeding on the ground. All of the men survived, except Cervan, and two of them testified

against Hernandez at his trial.

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