Texas executes Mexican man despite objections

High court rejected request for reprieve in case that drew global scrutiny

Jose Medellin who was executed late Tuesday, was one of six teenagers charged with the 1993 gang rape and murders of Elizabeth Pena and Jennifer Ertman.

HUNTSVILLE, Texas – A Mexican-born condemned prisoner was executed Tuesday night for the rape and murder of two teenage girls 15 years ago after a divided U.S. Supreme Court rejected his request for a reprieve.

“I’m sorry my actions caused you pain. I hope this brings you the closure that you seek. Never harbor hate,” Jose Medellin said to those gathered to watch him die. Nine minutes later, at 9:57 p.m., he was pronounced dead.

Medellin’s execution, the fifth this year in the nation’s busiest capital punishment state, attracted international attention after he raised claims he wasn’t allowed to consult the Mexican consulate for legal help following his arrest. State officials say he didn’t ask to do so until well after he was convicted of capital murder.

Two teens raped, murdered
Medellin, 33, was condemned for participating in the 1993 gang rape, beating and strangling of Elizabeth Pena, 16, and Jennifer Ertman, 14. He and five fellow gang members attacked the Houston girls as they were walking home on a June night, raped and tortured them for an hour, then kicked and stomped them before using a belt and shoelaces to strangle them.

Their remains were found four days later. By then, Medellin already had bragged to friends about the killings.

Pena’s father, who was among the witnesses, gently tapped the glass that separated him from Medellin as he turned to leave the witness chamber after the execution.

“We feel relieved,” Adolfo Pena said after leaving the prison. “Fifteen years is a long time coming.”

Several dozen demonstrators, about evenly divided between favoring and opposing capital punishment, stood outside on opposite sides of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit.

Medellin’s attorneys contended he was denied the protections of the Vienna Convention, which calls for people arrested to have access to their home country’s consular officials.

“Under the circumstances, it’s hard to talk about what comes next,” lawyer Sandra Babcock said, noting her thoughts were with Medellin’s family and the family of his victims. “But now more than ever, it’s important to recall this is a case not just about one Mexican national on death row in Texas. It’s also about ordinary Americans who count on the protection of the consulate when they travel abroad to strange lands. It’s about the reputation of the United States as a nation that adheres to the rule of law.”

International scrutiny
In Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, where Medellin was born, a small group of his relatives condemned his execution.

“Only God has the right to take a life,” cousin Reyna Armendariz said.

Six of his relatives, including Armendariz, and several activists gathered earlier Tuesday in a working-class neighborhood to await word on Medellin’s fate.

A large black bow and a banner that read “No to the death penalty … may God forgive you,” hung from an iron fence in front of the house where Medellin lived until moving to the United States at the age of 3. He grew up in Houston, where he learned English and attended school.

The International Court of Justice said Medellin and some 50 other Mexicans on death row around the United States should have new hearings in U.S. courts to determine whether the 1963 treaty was violated during their arrests. Medellin was the first among them to die.

President Bush asked states to review the cases, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year neither the president nor the international court can force Texas to wait.

Gov. Rick Perry, Texas courts and the Texas attorney general’s office all said the execution should go forward and that Medellin has had multiple legal reviews. State officials noted Medellin never invoked his consular rights under the Vienna Convention until some four years after he was convicted.

High court divided
His lawyers asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to stop the execution until legislation could be passed to formalize case reviews ordered by the International Court of Justice.

The high court said in its ruling that that possibility was too remote to justify a stay. Justice Stephen Breyer, one of four justices who issued dissenting opinions, wrote that to permit the execution would place the United States “irremediably in violation of international law and breaks our treaty promises.”

Medellin’s supporters said either Congress or the Texas Legislature should have been given a chance to pass a law setting up procedures for new hearings. A bill to implement the international court’s ruling wasn’t introduced in Congress until last month. The Texas Legislature doesn’t meet until January.

On Monday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request for a reprieve and denied his lawyers permission to file new appeals. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles also rejected requests for clemency and a 240-day reprieve.

One of Medellin’s fellow gang members, Derrick O’Brien, was executed two years ago. Another, Peter Cantu, described as the ringleader of the group, is on death row. He does not have a death date.

Two others, Efrain Perez and Raul Villarreal, had their death sentences commuted to life in prison when the Supreme Court barred executions for those who were 17 at the time of their crimes. The sixth person convicted, Medellin’s brother, Vernancio, was 14 at the time and is serving a 40-year prison term.

*Side Note* This is an part of what appeared in the LA Times

The buildup to Tuesday’s execution drew worldwide attention and involved a host of players and institutions beyond the United States and Mexico.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague sided in 2004 with the Mexican government’s argument that the United States had violated the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by failing to inform the arrested Mexican nationals of their right to seek help from the Mexican Consulate.

Mexico has asked that all 51 convictions be reviewed, creating the possibility for new trials or outright dismissals. The Hague court had ordered the United States not to execute any of five men on death row in Texas while the court reviewed their cases.

But the court, a branch of the United Nations, has no power to enforce its rulings. A spokesman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, has said that “the world court has no standing in Texas.”

My View:

I think Mommy should have taught her damn son that: No one has a right to take a life but God. Perhaps if she had her sick son of a bitch son wouldn’t have done the disgusting deeds he had. Perhaps she should have worried where he was at night instead of him being with a god damn gang.

President (Dumb Ass) Bush has no right asking Governor Perry, any governor, or state for that matter to review these cases as Bush killed more men sitting as governor than any other Texas Governor in the history of this state. It is by the way a record he is very proud of.

I truly hope Peter Cantu’s day comes soon. As for Efrain Perez and Raul Villarreal, having their death sentences commuted to life in prison because the Supreme Court barred executions for those who were 17 at the time of their crimes, I cry FOUL. Bet they wouldn’t say that or rule that way if some punk 17 or younger did something like that to their daughter, son, wife, or grandchild.

As for Vernancio, Medellin’s 14yo brother who got 40 yrs, I say fry or inject his ass as well. It’s not the first time we have tried and convicted KIDS in this country. This little fucking SPIC helped in this sick depraved debacle. So why does he get to kill a kid his own age and one 3 yrs older only to be given a pass. If it’s a problem doing it, hell I live right here in Texas. Huntsville is at most eight hours away. I can come down and put a bullet in his head. I’d have no problem doing so, it’s like putting down a rabid dog. You don’t keep it caged for forty years, release it and hope it doesn’t attack again.

For anyone whining or sniveling about my harsh words: tough shit. I only have this to say:

WE DON'T MESS, PLAY, or SCREW AROUND DOWN HERE!!!

WE DON'T MESS, PLAY, or SCREW AROUND DOWN HERE!!!

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~ by Digory Kirke on August 6, 2008.

2 Responses to “Texas executes Mexican man despite objections”

  1. Well, I would not have used racial epithets to make my point. However I must agree with Turtle on this. Just because you come from another country doesn’t even you a pass to break our laws. He murdered, so he got the death penalty. Learn our laws, or don’t come here! As for “Only god has the right to put someone down” Isn’t this the same “ever loving” god that once said an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth? And isn’t this the same god you christians claim is the “same yesterday, today & forever?” If so, than Texas would be well justified in taking this mans’ life as he took two. At least Texas has the guts to do what is right. And you cannot call Texas a racial hate filled state, when our own governor is himself hispanic!

  2. I live in Boston but have close family in Houston; I have 2 niece down there about the same age as these girls were……saw this story on TV, googled and came across this page……ALL of the sacks of shit who tortured and murdered (BRUTALLY) these girls need to DIE……unfucking-beliveable if you read the full story of what these girls went through……and anyone in Texas thinks this isn’t a problem as far north as New England you’re sadly mistaken it’s a HUGE issue here, we’re CRAWLING with illegals and gangs and we’re near the border of Canada not Mexico! And I’m 1/4 Spanish but feel free to use the spic word and I’m embarrassed I have the same last name as the filthy piece of shit o’brien executed a few years ago….may they all (and the lying, ignorant cunt mexican relatives and their maricon “activist”) rot in hell for an eternity. If this involved my niece I wouldn’t rest until they were all dead…..probably include their immediate family for good measure because they share responsibility for creating rabid dogs…..fuck all of them they need to die and it shouldn’t have taken this long that’s not justice.

    And lethal injection is too nice; they need to hang. This world has become as soft as a sneaker full of shit.

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