Thursday, May 02, 2002


Oklahoma Court Orders New Sentence for Mexican
Mexican praises re-sentencing for Oklahoma death row prisoner
Wed May 1,11:11 PM ET

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's Foreign Relations Department praised what it called "an unprecedented decision" Wednesday by an Oklahoma court to order the re-sentencing of a Mexican death-row inmate, in part because his consulate wasn't notified of the arrest and thus couldn't submit key evidence.

Earlier Wednesday, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Valdez should be re-sentenced because he was not properly informed of his rights, nor were Mexican officials able to present evidence of his mental impairment.

The Mexican government learned of Valdez's case in April 2001, three years after his 1989 arrest. He was convicted of killing Juan Barron in Valdez's home in Minco, Oklahoma.

The Mexican government later found that Valdez suffered from severe organic brain damage, was born into extreme poverty, received limited education and grew up in a family plagued by alcohol abuse and instability.

The court said it cannot ignore the significance and importance of the evidence discovered with the assistance of the Mexican consulate.

Valdez could still be given the death penalty when he is sentenced again.

He was condemned for killing Juan Barron after Barron allegedly made sexual advances. Prosecutors said Valdez tried to convince Barron that Christianity condemned homosexuality, then shot him twice in the head, cut his throat and hid the body in a barbecue pit.