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Nation/World

January 23, 2014

Court appeals at least temporarily delay execution

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — The execution of a Mexican national was put on hold yesterday as the U.S. Supreme Court considered appeals to keep 46-year-old Edgar Tamayo from the Texas death chamber.

Tamayo had been set to die last night for the slaying 20 years ago of a Texas police officer, Guy Gaddis, 24.

Texas officials have opposed appeals to stop the scheduled lethal injection, despite pleas and diplomatic pressure from the Mexican government and the U.S. State Department.

Tamayo’s attorneys and the Mexican government contend Tamayo’s case was tainted because he wasn’t advised under an international agreement that he could get legal help from his home nation after his arrest. Legal assistance guaranteed under that treaty could have uncovered evidence to contest the capital murder charge or provide evidence to keep Tamayo off death row, Mexican officials have said.

Records show the consulate became involved or aware of the case just as his trial was to begin.

Secretary of State John Kerry previously asked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to delay Tamayo’s punishment, saying it “could impact the way American citizens are treated in other countries.” The State Department repeated that stance Wednesday.

But Abbott’s office and the Harris County district attorney opposed postponing what would be the first execution this year in the nation’s most active capital punishment state, where 16 people were put to death in 2013.

The high court was considering at least two appeals. One focused on the consular issue. The other was related to whether Tamayo was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty. The execution warrant remains in effect until midnight.

Tamayo’s lawyers went to the Supreme Court after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said an appeal this week renewing an earlier contention that Tamayo was mentally impaired and ineligible for execution was filed too late.

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