Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mexican on Death Row Executed in Texas (Update)

Update (11:55 PM): Edgar Tamayo was executed via lethal injection on Wednesday night.

According to a report from the Associated Press:
Asked by a warden if he had a final statement, he mumbled "no" and shook his head. As the lethal dose of pentobarbital began taking effect, he took a few breaths and then made one slightly audible snore before all movement stopped. He was pronounced dead 17 minutes after the drug was administered, at 9:32 p.m. CST.

Tamayo never looked toward (murdered policeman Guy) Gaddis' mother, two brothers and two other relatives who watched through a window. He selected no witnesses of his own.

There were several dozen police officers and supporters of the slain patrolman were revving their motorcycles outside of the prison before witnesses were let inside the death chamber.
Afterwords, Gaddis' mother admitted that "my broken heart is feeling better" while one of the slain officer's brothers deemed Tamayo as a "coward who shot my brother in his back."

Meanwhile, Tamayo's  father claimed that he was innocent and that members of his family had been praying for him. 

Update (10:20 PM): The U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution for Mexican national and death row inmate Edgar Tamayo.  As a result, it's expected that Tamayo will be executed via lethal injection sometime tonight.

"Twenty years have been long enough.  I'm ready," said part of a statement issued by Tamayo on Wednesday.  Prison officials claimed that he has been calm in anticipation of his execution.
 Update (9:00 PM): Authorities in Texas have temporarily delayed the execution of convicted murderer Edgar Tamayo while the U.S. Supreme Court hears a legal appeal.

The high tribunal has until midnight to make a decision on the fate of Tamayo though if no ruling is made a new date for execution may need to be set.

As mentioned in our original text below, the Mexican government called for Tamayo's execution to be suspended since it violates international law while the U.S. State Department expressed its concern that the punishment could impact the way U.S. citizens are treated in other countries.  Yet Texas state officials had been vehemently opposed to either postponing the execution or commuting Tamayo's sentence.

Original Post: A Mexican national sitting on death row in Texas is only a few hours away from being executed. 

Barring a last-second reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court or Gov. Rick Perry, Edgar Tamayo is scheduled to die via lethal injection at approximately 6:00 pm local time.  The odds that he will avoid being executed at the appointed hour are very slim as he faces decreasing legal options.  The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected a clemency request this morning while a U.S. federal court denied an appeal contending that Tamayo is mentally impaired.

Tamayo, who was convicted of murdering Houston police officer Guy Gaddis in 1994, would be the first execution this year in Texas.  (Texas was the most active capital punishment state last year with sixteen people were put to death in 2013).

Tamayo’s planned execution comes amidst protests from Mexican officials such as the country’s Foreign Secretary and Ambassador to the U.S.

“If Edgar Tamayo's execution were to go ahead without his trial being reviewed and his sentence reconsidered ... it would be a clear violation of the United States' international obligations,” read a recent statement issued by the Mexican foreign ministry.  The ministry also argued that Tamayo was never advised under an international treaty that he could get legal help from his home nation after his arrest.

Yesterday the U.S. State Department reiterated the stance of Secretary of State John Kerry alleged that the possible death of Tamayo “could impact the way American citizens are treated in other countries”.  In an article written last week, ex-Texas Gov. and self-professed capital punishment backer Mark White said, “This case is not about whether we support or oppose the death penalty. It’s about fairness and having the courts hear all the key facts”.

Despite these objections and others including an appeal from Tamayo’s father, it appears as if Gov. Perry will not delay the 46-year-old’s execution.

"It doesn't matter where you're from…If you commit a despicable crime like this in Texas, you are subject to our state laws, including a fair trial by jury and the ultimate penalty," said a spokeswoman for Gov. Perry.

Several family members of Gaddis led a letter writing campaign last year seeking the execution of Tamayo.

“The jury said he should be executed and I do struggle a little bit with that but I want him to go ahead and be executed because that's what our justice system ended up with,” Gayle Gaddis said last month.

“If they execute me, please tell my countrymen…to forgive me for having failed them and for returning in a box,” said Tamayo in a “farewell message” published this week.  He also mentioned that he felt “deceived” by Mexican diplomatic officials for not doing more to campaign on his behalf and requested to be buried in his native state of Morelos.

Tamayo’s life could have been spared sometime in the past decade through an international court ruling but that never came to fruition:
Ten years ago, the United Nations' International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, ordered the United States to reconsider the convictions of 51 Mexicans, including Tamayo, who had been sent to death row without being informed of their consular rights. 
Two of the 51 have since been executed, both in Texas. 
José E. Medellin, 33, was put to death in 2008 for the 1993 rape and murder of two teenage girls in Houston. 
Before his execution, President George W. Bush ordered Texas and other states to review the Mexican nationals’ convictions. But the state's then-solicitor general, Ted Cruz — who is now a Republican senator — persuaded the Supreme Court to rule that the president had no authority to order state courts to honor the World Court’s decision.
In 2009, a State Department legal adviser claimed that it was up to Congress to enact legislation giving precedence to international law over U.S. state law.  So far that has yet to occur and the chances that such a bill gets passed are likely smaller than the possibility that Tamayo’s execution gets delayed.
Video Source– YouTube user CadenaTres

Online Sources including Updates - Austin American-Statesman; Reuters; NBC News; Excelsior; Los Angeles Times;; Huffington Post; The Latin Americanist; Washington Post; El Universal; Europa Press

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