Pablo Lucio Vasquez (38), also known as the “Vampire” killer, is slated to be executed in Texas today. In a videotaped confession to police, Vasquez said that he crushed the head of 12-year-old David Cardenas and slit his throat. Following the April 18, 1998, murder, Vasquez said that he unsuccessfully tried to decapitate the boy. Vasquez also drank his victim’s blood. Vasquez was 20 years old at the time.
<div> The mutilated and scalped body of the boy was discovered in a shallow grave in Donna – a south Texas town – four days after the murder.
Vasquez’s defense counsel, James Keegan has appealed for a stay from the Supreme Court of the United States. Claiming problems with jury selection, Attorney Keegan previously tried to stop Vasquez's execution by claiming that his client was mentally ill, making his execution into an allegedly cruel and unusual punishment and thus unconstitutional. A stay was granted earlier this year, but the argument ultimately failed.
Vasquez and his cousin, Rafael Chapa, had been drinking alcohol, smoking pot and using cocaine. It was then that voices told him to kill Chapa’s friend Cardenas. Vasquez said Cardenas was still alive when Vasquez drank the blood. “The blood was dripping and got it all over my face. So, I don’t know, I mean something just told me drink," Vasquez told police. Chapa was 15 years old at the time of the murder.
Vasquez was sentenced to death in 1999. Cousin Chapa is serving a 35-year sentence. This year, Texas has accounted for half of the 10 U.S. executions completed this year. All have been by injection.
After his sentencing, Vasquez’s mother apologized. “I would like to extend an apology to the (Cardenas) family,” Maria Vasquez said. “(Vasquez) was a good son. He was loved by his family and friends. I can’t believe something like this would happen.”
In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, lead prosecutor Joseph Orendain said Vasquez is a “sociopath” and described the horrific culmination of Cardenas's murder. “They decided they were going to try to take his head off with a shovel and didn’t realize that it was a lot more difficult to cut someone’s head off,” Orendain said. “It was a mutilated body left behind. … It was really horrendous.”