The U.S. Supreme Court will not halt the execution of Texas death row inmate Cleve Foster, as it did three times in 2011. Foster, 48, has maintained he is innocent in the 2002 shooting death of Nyaneur Pal, 30.
"I didn't do it," Foster told the AP recently from death row. "And if it means I'm going to the gurney and the taking of my life, so be it."
A former recruiter for the U.S. Army, Foster was charged in Pal's death along with his friend, Sheldon Ward. Pal's body was found in a ditch; DNA evidence incriminated both men.
The AP summarizes more details in the case:
"A gun in the motel room where Foster and Ward lived was identified as the murder weapon and was matched to an earlier fatal shooting of 22-year-old Rachel Urnosky at her Fort Worth apartment. Foster and Ward were charged but never tried."
"Foster blamed Pal's death on Ward, one of his recruits who became a close friend. Prosecutors said evidence showed Foster actively participated in Pal's killing, offered no credible explanations, lied and gave contradictory stories about his sexual activities with her."
Ward died of cancer in 2010. On at least two occasions, Foster has been prepared for execution — and then received a reprieve. Foster's attorney has recently argued that he was not well-represented during his initial case. Earlier attempts to keep him out of the execution chamber hinged on the method that would be used to end his life.
As Korva reported last year, the Supreme Court sided with Foster's attorney's in part because of concerns over what drug the state would use to execute him.
"He would have been the first person put to death in Texas using pentobarbital, a single drug that is replacing the three drugs generally used to kill a condemned prisoner," she wrote in April of 2011. The drug change was brought on by a shortage of sodium thiopental.
Foster's execution is scheduled to take place late tonight. The Texas website Execution Watch says it has taped an interview with the inmate, which it will broadcast if he is put to death.