A Mexican Mafia member sent to death row for strangling a woman in San Antonio 15 years ago for failing to pay the gang a 10 percent tax on illegal drug sales has lost a federal court appeal.
Manuel Vasquez, 44, was condemned for the slaying of 51-year-old Juanita Ybarra at a San Antonio motel.
Appeals lawyers argued Vasquez had deficient legal help at his 1999 trial and that prosecutors withheld some interview notes from a man who was severely beaten in the same attack. The defense also challenged the racial makeup of the grand jury that indicted Vasquez and contended one of his gang partners gave perjured testimony.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Wednesday rejected all claims.