(AP) The first two men to be executed in the United States for the killing of a Colorado woman said they believed they were being targeted because they were white and their names were Campos and Campos II.
They were the first in a series of cases involving men accused of killing women, people of color, undocumented immigrants and people who were homeless or homeless-dwelling.
They could face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.
It is the first time the United State Supreme Court has ruled on the issue.
Both men, Jorge Campos, 45, and Pedro Campos Jr., 32, were convicted in 2012 of first-degree murder and were given sentences of life in federal prison.
The convictions were upheld by a three-judge panel in Denver.
Both died in prison in January.
The men, whose names were withheld by the Justice Department, were found guilty of killing 23-year-old Maria Martinez in a small town in rural northwest Colorado in June 2008.
Prosecutors said Campos had killed Martinez because he believed her boyfriend, Pedro, was not going to pay her $400 a month rent, because he thought he was going to be deported and because he feared the homeless people in the area.
Martinez was killed after she resisted him.
Her body was found in a creek near Campos’s home and a neighbor found her legs cut in half.
Campos was convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting Martinez.
Prosecutors later said he raped her and stabbed her to death.
In 2012, Campos killed a woman he suspected of sleeping with someone else.
He was sentenced to death in Colorado.
Pedro Campo Jr., 33, was convicted in 2010 of first degree murder and was sentenced in federal court in Denver to life in a federal prison in Colorado Springs.
He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 18.
Martinez’s case was different because she was homeless.
Camps’ attorneys said the pair were targeted because their names and photographs were used to describe people of a different race.
They said their innocence was based on the belief they were victims of racial profiling.
The U.S. Supreme Court in May ordered the release of all of the cases.
Campo was convicted because he was found with a handgun in his car.
Prosecutors had not said whether Campos carried the weapon, which was later found to be loaded.
The two men were not sentenced for Martinez’s murder.
In another case, Juan Carlos Campos Sr. was sentenced last year to death for killing his mother.
He died in a Colorado prison in March and is serving a life sentence without parole.
His case is the most serious case in a decades-long war on the so-called “War on Drugs” and the nation’s largest mass incarceration.
In October, the U.C.L.A. School of Law reported it was the first to be named the state’s most violent prison.
That followed the death of a 19-year old in a drug-related shooting in Colorado last year.
The deaths have drawn a national outcry.