San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica asks U.S. for clemency for death row prisoner

Costa Rica asked the United States for clemency Tuesday for a Costa Rican on death row in Miami. Terance Valentine was convicted of murder in 1988 for killing Ferdinand Porche, the new husband of Valentine’s ex-wife, Livia Romero. Romero, who is also from Costa Rica, was attacked by Valentine as well.

“We have sent an official note to the U.S. government requesting a change in the injunction. Costa Rica cannot endorse or remain silent before a death penalty sentence on a Costa Rican citizen,” Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Roverssi told Radio Reloj.

Romero and Valentine married as teenagers in Costa Rica, and Romero filed for divorce in New Orleans in 1986, according to documents filed with the Supreme Court of Florida. She remarried Porche and moved to Tampa, where the couple began receiving threatening calls from Valentine. On Sept. 9, 1988, an armed Valentine forced his way into the couple’s home. He ushered Romero and Valentine into his car, then drove them to a remote area and shot them. Romero survived and immediately told police Valentine was her assailant.

Valentine, 60, was arrested in February 1989 and tried three times; in 1994 he was handed down the death penalty.

In a statement to Channel 7’s Telenoticas, Valentine said he was sentenced to death “due to racism and the lack of intelligence of the lawyers” who defended him.

“I need the Costa Rican government to demand that there is a judgment made like God intended,” said Valentine, who appealed to the friendly relations between both countries.

The prisoner lamented that Costa Rica’s diplomatic help in Miami has “abandoned” him, but he also recognized that this was due to a lack of resources.

“We do not have the financial resources, and that is the problem,” Lorena Sánchez, Costa Rican consul in Miami, told Channel 7.

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