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Society and Community:
Death Penalty Cases
More on This Story:
The Ruben Cantu and Anthony Graves Cases

NOW examines two death penalty cases that raise troubling questions about the way in which our society handles the ultimate punishment. As Congress and the courts continue to dial back federal oversight of death penalty cases, many worry the result will be that innocent people end up on death row. The report focuses on a still-breaking investigation in Texas that questions whether a man who has been executed was innocent.

Learn more about these two cases below. Also, explore the history of capital punishment in the U.S. and around the world. Then, hear from both sides in the death penalty debate and tell us what you think or take our online poll.

Anthony Graves

Anthony Graves and Robert Earl Carter were convicted of the 1992 murder of six people, a grandmother, her 16-year-old daughter, and four grandchildren, between 4 and 9 years old and sentenced to die. Carter was executed by lethal injection on May 31, 2000. In his last statement he reiterated what he had been saying for years that Anthony Graves had not taken part in the crime. "It was me and me alone. Anthony Graves had nothing to do with it. I lied on him in court."

CBS reported on the Graves case after Carter's execution in 2000. In 2001, THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE did a review of the case and evidence. On December 6, 2005 federal appellate court judges agreed to hear Anthony Graves' plea for a new trial. Read more about the trial and the evidence below.

Ruben Cantu

A 2005 special investigation by HOUSTON CHRONICLE reporter Lise Olsen has raised questions about the trial, conviction and execution of Ruben Cantu. In 1984, two construction workers were shot in a San Antonio house. One victim, Juan Moreno, survived and later testified that the killer was Ruben Cantu, 17 years old at the time of the crime. Cantu was executed in 1993 at the age of 26. Today Juan Moreno says that Ruben Cantu was not the person who shot him. He maintains he lied because he felt pressured by police to name Cantu as the killer. Read more below.

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