Posted on February 7, 2014

Mexican Man Executed in Texas for Killing a Police Officer Is given a Hero’s Burial in His Home Town

Alex Delmar-Morgan, Daily Mail (London), February 3, 2014

Thousands of mourners poured out to see the burial of the Mexican man put to death by lethal injection in Texas last month, a move that has sparked diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and the central American state.

Friends and relatives carried the coffin of Mexican Edgar Tamayo to the cemetery in his home town of Miacatlan, Morelos state, amid an outpouring of grief from local residents.

Edgar Tamayo

Edgar Tamayo

The 46-year-old Mexican was controversially executed in Texas less than two weeks ago for the killing of a Houston police officer in 1994, despite outrage from human rights groups and last minute appeals from his lawyers for clemency on the grounds that Tamayo was mentally disabled.

The case saw the unusual intervention of the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, who had repeatedly urged the Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to delay Tamayo’s punishment, saying it ‘could impact the way American citizens are treated in other countries.’

Abbott and the Harris County district attorney opposed postponing what was the first execution this year in the ultra-conservative American state. Some 16 people were executed in Texas in 2013.

The Mexican government also sharply criticized the decision, saying failure to review Tamayo’s case and reconsider his sentence would be ‘a clear violation by the United States of its international obligations’.

Tamayo was found guilty of shooting 24-year-old Houston policeman Guy Gaddis 20 years ago.

Tamayo’s lawyers, the Mexican government and rights groups all say Tamayo was denied a fair trial because he failed to receive consular help, something which they say broke international law and could have helped him avoid the death sentence.

Legal assistance guaranteed under the Vienna Convention could have uncovered evidence to contest the capital murder charge or provide evidence to keep Tamayo off death row, they said.

His lawyers also argue that Texas governor Rick Perry and Abbott reneged on a promise to review Tamayo’s case as ordered by the International Court of Justice in 2004.

Tamayo’s attorneys previously appealed to a federal court in Austin, Texas, for an injunction against Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, which he appoints.

The board could have recommended Perry grant clemency, but it’s an action they rarely take. A judge rejected that lawsuit last month.