Texas prepares for another controversial execution tonight

AUSTIN — Heliberto Chi, a Honduran native who led authorities on a six-week manhunt after gunning down an Arlington clothing-store manager in 2001, moved one step closer to execution Wednesday when the state's highest criminal court rejected his bid for a stay.

Chi, condemned for killing Armand Paliotta during an after-hours robbery of the K&G Men’s Superstore in Arlington, will be put to death tonight in Huntsville unless his lawyers can persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to spare his life.

Arlington attorney Wes Ball said the odds are against Chi because Ball’s argument is similar to the one the justices rejected late Tuesday when they allowed the execution of Mexican national Jose Ernesto Medellin to go forward.

"The court went 5-4 against Medellin, so we’ll have to turn one justice to our side," Ball said.

Medellin’s case rested on the fact that he was not notified that he had the right under international treaty to visit with a Mexican consular representative after his arrest. Chi likewise was not notified of that right, but Ball said his client will also argue that the United States has a separate treaty with Honduras that ensures each country’s citizens will be notified of their right to consular help if they are arrested abroad.

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