Texas executes man despite opposition from Mexico
By MICHAEL GRACZYK (AP)
January 23, 2014, 3:02 pm TWN
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Mexican national was executed in Texas for killing a Houston police officer, despite pleas and diplomatic pressure from the Mexican government and the U.S. State Department to halt the punishment.
Edgar Tamayo, 46, received a lethal injection Wednesday night for the January 1994 fatal shooting of Officer Guy Gaddis, 24.
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.
The execution, the first this year in the nation's most active death penalty state, was delayed more than three hours while the U.S. Supreme Court considered last-ditch appeals.
Tamayo never looked toward Gaddis' mother, two brothers and two other relatives who watched through a window.
"He's a coward just like when he shot my brother in the back of the head and he died a coward," Glen Gaddis said.
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. Tamayo selected no witnesses of his own.
"A little bit of my shredded heart is feeling better," the officer's mother, Gayle, said.
The execution came after the U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts rejected last-day appeals and Texas officials spurned arguments that Tamayo's case was tainted because he wasn't informed, under an international agreement, that he could get legal help from the Mexican consulate after his arrest for the officer's slaying.
Attorneys had also argued unsuccessfully that Tamayo was mentally impaired, making him ineligible for execution, and that the state's clemency procedures were unfair.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected Tamayo's request for clemency on Tuesday.
"It doesn't matter where you're from," said Lucy Nashed, spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry. "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."
Tamayo's lawyers, Sandra L. Babcock and Maurie Levin, issued a statement after the Supreme Court's ruling, saying Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott "ignored promises they made to our nation's leaders that they would ensure review of Mr. Tamayo's consular rights violation."
"The execution of Mr. Tamayo violates the United States' treaty commitments, threatens the nation's foreign policy interests, and undermines the safety of all Americans abroad," Babcock and Levin also said.
The Mexican government earlier this week said it "strongly opposed" the execution.
"The issue of fundamental importance in this case is the respect for the right of access to protection provided by our consulates to Mexicans abroad," Euclides Del Moral Arbona, a director in the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters outside the prison.
Gaddis, who had been on the force for two years, was driving Tamayo and another man from a robbery scene when evidence showed the officer was shot three times in the head and neck with a pistol Tamayo had concealed in his pants. The car crashed, and Tamayo fled on foot but was captured a few blocks away, still in handcuffs, carrying the robbery victim's watch and wearing the victim's necklace.