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Convicted Killer Faces Execution Tonight

May 14, 1985

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A man convicted of killing a convenience store clerk during a robbery that netted only a six-pack of beer was moved to a holding cell near the death chamber today to await execution.

Attorneys tried last-minute appeals to spare the life of Jesse de la Rosa, 24, of San Antonio, who was scheduled to die before dawn Wednesday for the 1979 slaying.

De la Rosa was transferred by van early today the 15 miles from Death Row to the Walls Unit, which houses the chamber where the lethal injection was to be administered, Texas Department of Corrections spokesman Charles Brown said.

On Monday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans refused a stay of execution for de la Rosa and also declined to grant a certificate of probable cause, which is needed to bolster defense claims before another court, a circuit court clerk said.

Attorneys were going to the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to get a stay. ″We don’t hold out much hope for success,″ attorney Ralph Lopez said Monday.

Wednesday’s execution date was the second for de la Rosa. A judge in April 1984 kept him from death.

De la Rosa was convicted of killing Masaoud Ghazali, a 27-year-old former Iranian Air Force captain, during the holdup.

Attorneys late last week filed sworn statements from de la Rosa, his brother and two unidentified persons who insisted that de la Rosa did not commit the killing.

In an interview a week ago, de la Rosa said he was coerced into confessing to the crime. He refused, however, to say who did the shooting.

Six Texas inmates have been executed since the state resumed the death penalty in 1982, two so far this year.

Attorneys for de la Rosa went to the 5th Circuit after a Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles decision not to delay the scheduled execution or commute the death sentence to life in prison, court spokesman Richard Windhorst said.

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