New evidence revealed, execution scheduled for April 26The exhaustion in his eyes was palpable. Only minutes before he was brought into the visitor cage for the interview April 12, Texas death row inmate Ivan Cantu had met with the prison warden to discuss where his remains and belongings were to be sent after his execution in less than two weeks.
Cantu has spent more than 20 years on death row at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas. He still maintains his innocence and while he’s scheduled for execution in less than two weeks he is praying it’s delayed. Unfortunately, new evidence in his case might not be reviewed in any court because it came to light after the conclusion of Cantu’s state and federal habeas corpus proceedings.
Cantu was convicted in Collin County for killing his cousin James Mosqueda, a known drug dealer, and his cousin’s fiance, Amy Kitchen, in 2000.
New eyes on the case
Since Cantu’s conviction in 2001, new information and holes in the state’s case raise questions of reasonable doubt, according to Matt Duff, a private investigator that has researched the case since 2019.
Duff documented his private investigation and created a lengthy, in-depth podcast titled “Cousins by Blood.” His work dives into Cantu’s case with first-hand interviews, including Cantu’s early jail tapes in 2000 and an interview with the state’s star witness that helped put him on death row.
The state’s case argued that during a multiple-day drug-fueled bender, Cantu held his then-girlfriend named Amy Boettcher without her will, was abusive to her and told her he had plans to kill his cousin. Her brother Jeff Boettcher matched her story. He stated under testimony during the trial that before the murder Cantu propositioned him to help “clean up” the murder scene and in return, he would give him some of the money he attended to steal.
“They both lied,” Cantu alleges.
Since the trial in 2001, the brother-matched testimony was later recanted. According to court records, Jeff Boettcher called the Collin County District and recanted his testimony stating he was on drugs during Cantu’s trial and his statement should be considered unreliable.
Cantu questioned if carrying out his execution is considered justice or just an easier way to sweep the inconsistent problems in his case under the rug and just execute him to move on.
“I have been here for more than 20 years and to be honest it’s been a blessing and a curse,” said Cantu during the interview. “I have become closer to God but I don’t want to die, I just hope one day the truth comes out.”