Texas delays execution of Mexican national amid diplomatic protests
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas delayed the execution of Mexican national Edgar Tamayo scheduled for Wednesday as it waited word on an appeal from the U.S. Supreme Court to keep alive the convicted killer who is also at the center of a diplomatic dispute.
The Mexican government has called on Texas to halt the execution, saying it would be a violation of international law and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has asked Texas Governor Rick Perry to consider a stay.
The execution had been planned for 6 p.m. CST on Wednesday.
While handcuffed in the police car, Tamayo pulled a pistol that had gone unseen and shot Gaddis, 24, three times in the back of the head. Tamayo kicked open a window and ran away from the car but was arrested again a few blocks from the scene.
In 2004, the United Nations' International Court of Justice 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.
So far, two of that group have been executed. Tamayo, who was in the United States illegally at the time of his arrest, would be the third.
HOPING FOR A MIRACLE
In a statement on Sunday, Mexico's foreign ministry said, "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."
Last month, Secretary of State Kerry urged Governor Perry, a foe of the Obama administration, to reconsider Tamayo's execution because it could make it more difficult for the United States to help Americans in legal trouble abroad.
"Mr. Tamayo was convicted of killing a police officer," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told a news briefing on Wednesday.
"It's not that we don't take that seriously. It's that we take seriously our obligations to uphold consular access for folks incarcerated here because we go all over the world and ask other countries to do the same thing and apply those same obligations when our folks are incarcerated overseas," she added.
The case has drawn attention from around the world. Tamayo said his family had received letters of support from at least 67 countries.
In Tamayo's native town of Miacatlan in central Mexico, relatives were hoping for a miracle.
Some huddled next to radios anxiously listening for news from the United States, sipping on fermented pineapple juice.
"He was like any other guy, a bit crazy yes, feisty, but not to the point of killing someone," said his cousin Kenia, a housewife, declining to give her surname.
"The court concluded that the (parole) board's procedures provided Tamayo adequate due process in conformance with current Supreme Court precedent," U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote in a three-page opinion.