Sam Millsap Jr. Story about Death Penalty

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There have been many instances on people who get executed in Texas and are later proven innocent. Sam Millsap Jr. was the youngest big-city district attorney in 1982, and in five years, he had achieved a perfect record on capital murder cases. Not until he was the prosecuting attorney for the Cantu case. This case is about a high-school student from San Antonio named Ruben Cantu who was guilty for the death of Pedro Gomez in 1985. Gomez and his friend, Juan Moreno, were staying at a house they were working on and the home owner suggested for them to stay the night to protect the house from burglars. While they were staying there, they were both shot nine times during a burglary at the home. Sadly, Gomez died by a gunshot to the head.

Moreno, on the other hand, had survived the gun shots and had the capability to call someone for help. Police were never able to find the murder weapon nor collect any real evidence from the crime scene. Millsap’s action of law was built on only Moreno since he was the only one that saw who shot him and Gomez. He had said it was Cantu in a photo lineup and at in-court testimony. Because Moreno was able to identify Cantu, it only took an hour and a half for Ruben Cantu to get convicted for capital murder. Cantu, four days after his conviction, had wrote a letter stating that he had been set up for the death of Gomez.

Police were attacked by the defense attorneys, who had appealed this case many times, because there was only one witness in this account. The defense attorney’s appeals were unsuccessful because on August 24, 1993, Cantu had been executed. Olsen had researched more on the Cantu case and did a report that came out a dozen years later. She suggested in the report that in his letter, he might have been speaking the truth because for four months, the murderer of Gomez had been unsolved until there was a fight between Cantu and an off-duty officer at a bar. It wasn’t until this fight that officials began to look at Cantu as a suspect for the Gomez case.

Also she found out that Moreno not only lied about who he had seen that night but since he was an undocumented immigrant, he felt a lot of pressure by the authorities to identify Cantu. Both Millsap and Olsen’s opinions on the death penalty changed after her report came out that he was innocent, and Millsap said, “that if he had the opportunity to do it again, he would not have sought the death penalty in the Cantu murder case”. 

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Sam Millsap Jr. Story About Death Penalty. (2022, Apr 11). Retrieved July 13, 2024 , from

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