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Wednesday, 15 April, 1998, 08:23 GMT 09:23 UK
US executes Paraguayan national
Angel Francisco Breard:
Angel Francisco Breard: convicted of rape and murder
A Paraguayan man who stabbed a woman to death has been executed in Virginia despite pleas for a delay by the US State Department.

Angel Francisco Breard, 32, was executed by lethal injection at Greensville prison in Jarratt in the early hours of Wednesday.

He had been convicted of the murder and attempted rape of a 39-year-old neighbour in 1992.

Madeleine Albright
Albright: fears for Americans abroad
His execution came just a few hours after the US Supreme Court refused to reconsider the sentence after objections from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

The ICJ had asked for the case to be reviewed because the defendant was never told he had the right to seek legal help from the Paraguayan embassy.

Ms Albright also wanted the execution delayed because she was concerned that the case could jeopardise the safety of Americans arrested in other countries.

Court refused to bow to pressure

But the Supreme Court voted six to three to deny an appeal by the condemned man.

It said that although Breard had not been properly informed, it would not have altered his conviction.

The court added: "Breard decided not to plead guilty and to testify at his own trial contrary to the advice of his attorneys, who were likely far better able to explain the United States legal system to him than any consular official would have been."

Virginia Governor James Gilmore made the final decision not to grant a last-minute pardon.

He said: "Mr Breard having committed a heinous and depraved murder, his guilt being unquestioned and the legal issues being resolved against him, and the US Supreme Court having denied the petitions of Breard and Paraguay. I find no reason to interfere with his sentence."

A court official said that Breard had made a last statement before he died.

He said his last words were: "May Glory be to God."

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The BBC's Bridget Kendall reports
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Albright: Execution could undermine US international standing (0'42")
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