Last-minute confession of two murders

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HUNTSVILLE, Texas, Jan. 31 (UPI) — A man executed for murder in Texas last week confessed moments before his death to a separate murder in Michigan, authorities in Michigan said.

Rodrigo Hernandez died Jan. 26 by lethal injection in Huntsville (Texas) for the 1994 rape and murder of a San Antonio woman, Susan Verstegen. While he was on death row, it was determined his DNA matched evidence from the 1991 homicide of Muriel Stoepker in Michigan, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

He denied killing either woman, but spoke with a Texas Ranger assigned to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice immediately before his own death, and admitted accidentally shooting and killing Stoepker and “admitted to his involvement in the 1994 homicide of Susan Verstegen in San Antonio,” WZZM-TV, Grand Rapids, Mich., reporting, citing a news release from the Kent County (Mich.) Metropolitan Police Cold Case Team.

Although the Texas Rangers did not verify the confession, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Hernandez did speak with a Ranger before his execution.

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