Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Esequel BANDA





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape - Drank some of her blood
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: August 3, 1986
Date of birth: December 19, 1963
Victim profile: Merle Laird (female, 74)
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Hamilton County, Texas, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Texas on December 11, 1995

Ghoulish Murderer Is Executed in Texas

The New York Times

December 12, 1995

A man who said he killed a 74-year-old woman and then drank some of her blood was executed in Texas today.

The man, Esequel Banda, 31, died seven minutes after being injected with lethal chemicals.

Strapped to a gurney in the death chamber, Mr. Banda gazed at his wife while the chemicals were injected, a prison spokesman, David Nunnelee, said.

The lawyer who represented Mr. Banda in his appeals against the death sentence, Randy Johnston of Dallas, also witnessed the execution after spending the day with his client.

"I think it's absurd," Mr. Johnston said of the death penalty. "I think it is at best extremely arbitrary, at worst extremely discriminatory against the poor."

Mr. Johnston said he was unable to persuade Mr. Banda to pursue additional appeals after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected his final plea for a new trial earlier this month.

During Mr. Banda's trial, his sister testified that on the night of the killing he confessed to stabbing Merle Laird 20 or 30 times and then drinking some blood from her mouth.

"Banda said that he had sold his soul to the Devil, that the Devil had told him to kill six people," said prosecutors, who testified that Ms. Laird, a housewife in Hamilton, Tex., had been sexually assaulted and strangled.



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