Celebrities Rally Around Ivan Cantu Who Is Scheduled to Be Executed in Texas on Feb. 28, 2024

Jennifer Tisdale - Author
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Feb. 7 2024, Published 5:54 p.m. ET

According to the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the "State of Texas has executed 586 people since 1982," and put eight people to death in 2023 alone. As of the time of this writing, two people are scheduled to be executed in 2024. One of those people, Ivan Cantu, is desperately trying to get his Feb. 28 date delayed in order to secure an evidentiary hearing, per a MoveOn petition filed on his behalf.

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Cantu's case has reached far beyond the Texas border and has caught the attention of celebrities. Both Jane Fonda and Martin Sheen have taken to social media in order to ask people for help. Since his conviction, new evidence has to come to light that lay the groundwork for a retrial. Unfortunately, time is running out for Cantu. Here are the latest updates regarding his legal situation.

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Ivan Cantu has maintained his innocence for over two decades. Now he's getting help from celebrities.

Actor Jane shared a video to Instagram made by her friend and former Grace and Frankie costar Martin. In it, he shares that Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, reached out to him in order to signal boost Cantu's story. Martin goes on to say that Cantu was wrongfully convicted and has never backed down when it came to his innocence. Despite new and alarming evidence regarding issues with the prosecutors at his trial as well as the investigation, Texas courts will not revisit Cantu's case.

Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis is also refusing to "utilize the conviction integrity unit in his office to delay the execution and open an urgent inquiry that could exonerate Cantu and save his life," said Martin. He then urges people to sign the MoveOn petition that could bring more awareness to Cantu's plight.

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Why is Ivan Cantu in prison?

In November 2000, police discovered the bodies of James Mosqueda, 27, and Amy Kitchen, 22. Both were shot multiple times but authorities were unable to locate a gun at the crime scene, reported the Texas Observer. The couple had gotten engaged a few months before they were killed. Kitchen as a nurse but Mosqueda was a known drug dealer, which is what police focused on. What didn't make sense was nothing missing apart from "Mosqueda’s Rolex watch and Kitchen’s diamond engagement ring."

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A day or two later, law enforcement discovered Mosqueda's Corvette in the parking lot of Cantu's apartment building after his mother requested they do a welfare check on her son. At the time, Cantu and his fiancee were in Arkansas but that didn't stop police from searching their apartment. On Nov. 7, authorities found "bloody clothing in the trash can, as well as a box of bullets and Amy Kitchen’s car keys."

While this was going on, Cantu was getting multiple calls from family and friends about the murders. He decided to share details of a story that pointed to a possible motive for the killings. Two days before the murders, "Cantu said a man dressed as a pizza delivery person had shown up to his apartment to intimidate him, claiming Mosqueda owed him a huge sum of money." Apparently this man fired into the wall as a warning. Police did take note of a bullet hole by Cantu's front door.

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Cantu and his fiancee, Amy Boettcher, returned to Dallas on Nov. 10 so Cantu could speak with detectives. Terrified, the couple stayed with Cantu's ex-girlfriend. When Cantu left her home in order to speak with police, his fiancee stayed behind. Hours later, Cantu was arrested and after letting Boettcher know, she flew back to Arkansas where she "told her parents that Cantu had committed the murders, and with the help of her stepfather, a former law enforcement officer, she made several statements to police."

This was the beginning of the end for Cantu, who said Boettcher lied about everything. Many wonder why she would do that but for context, they had only met a few months prior to the murders. Matt Duff, a private investigator, was intrigued by this story and looked into it. It led to a podcast titled Cousins by Blood. He is the catalyst behind the new evidence that could help Cantu. Hopefully it's not too late.

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