On April 18, 1998, Pablo Vasquez went to a party in Donna, Texas, with his 15-year-old cousin, Andres Rafael “Andy” Chapa. During the party he became intoxicated with cocaine and alcohol. At the party he met Cardenas, and while walking from the party to a house, Vasquez hit Cardenas on the head with a pipe and cut the boy’s throat. He and Chapa took the body to a field, across a four-lane street, leaving a trail of blood. At the field Vasquez robbed the body of valuables, cut off one arm, severed a portion of another arm, removed skin from Cardenas’s back, scalped the body, and drank his blood, before placing the body under pieces of aluminum. Vasquez tried to sever the boy’s head with a shovel, but failed. Three relatives of Vasquez and Chapa had attempted to conceal the crime. Pablo Vasquez was arrested in Conroe, Texas, after an anonymous tip. When questioned by police he said that the devil told him to remove Cardenas’s head. Vasquez’s trial began in 1999, and his lawyer was James Keegan; Joseph Orendain was the lead prosecutor. Vasquez was convicted and given a death sentence. Chapa received a 35-year sentence after pleading guilty. The relatives who assisted the perpetrators received fines and/or probation, and one was deported back to Guatemala.
Pablo Vasquez was received by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) on March 30, 1999. Initially the men’s death row was at Ellis Unit, north of Huntsville, Texas, but in mid-1999 it moved to Polunsky Unit near Livingston, Texas. Vasquez’s lawyer unsuccessfully argued that he should not be executed as he was mentally ill. Vasquez apologized to the victim’s family before he was executed by lethal injection at Huntsville Unit in Huntsville, Texas on April 6, 2016. At the time of his execution, Vasquez was 38 years old, having spent 18 years on Texas’s death row. The execution marked the sixth in Texas and the eleventh in the United States in 2016.
- August, 11, 1977
- Dawson County, Texas
- April, 06, 2016
- Huntsville, Texas
Cause of Death
- execution by lethal injection