Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Medellin execution report from Huntsville

Fellow Abolitionists,

This damned state of Texas that thinks it is above international law. It is 12:30 in the morning and a car of us with the Abolition Movement just returned from Huntsville. Oh my god, what a horrible night.

It was raining on and off because of the tropical storm that hit Texas this morning. People started protesting before 5:00 PM. At 6:00 PM we got our hopes up because no witnesses were crossing the street from the prison system's administration building into the death house. That's how we know an execution is going to happen. First 5 media people go across the street, which is blocked off at each corner with yellow crime scene tape. Then the prisoner's family, friends or spiritual adviser or even lawyer, walk across the street, again five people.

So when no one went across at 6:00, we started trying to find out what was happening. Finally a woman with CNN told us the Supremes were considering an appeal and were holding it up.

There were 30-40 people there protesting the execution. In the rain! The Mexican consulate was there and lots of lawyers and their friends as well as Robert Reyna, a well-known investigator. People from Houston, Spring, Michigan, New Jersey, Norway, 2 from Illinois, El Paso and people from right in Huntsville had gathered.

There were about 6-7 TV satellite trucks in the parking lot by where we protest.There were many other reporters from radio and TV and newspapers. CNN is almost never in Huntsville. But besides CNN, there was Houston's NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CW, TV Azteca, Univision, and a TV station from Honduras.

We thank KPF's Prison Program staff Ray Hill and Elizabeth Stein, and Otis for doing the Execution Watch radio show from 6:00 to 7:00 PM on the HD2 Channel. Too bad that it is so hard to find out how to listen. I wish they could put it on their web page all day on the day of an execution.

So tonight Texas had lots of opportunity to show the world just how damn stupid they are. Instead of grabbing the spotlight though, they shared it with the Supreme Court. How nice that both Texas the SCOTUS failed to understand the significance of international law.

Jose's family stayed in Houston. His five witnesses included 4 attorneys and one friend. Outside with us were about a dozen family members of Heliberto Chi who will be the next foreign national to be executed this week. His brother said there were still appeals pending in his case.

When the witnesses came back out of the death house, I think around 10:00, we knew that Jose had been murdered. One of his friends collapsed and was shrieking. Heliberto's family was in tears. It was awful. Certainly none of us condone what Jose and the others did--it was horrific and unconscionable. But what Texas did was just as unconscionable.

Jose's body was being taken back to Houston and to his family. Unfortunately for the family of Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena, this murder will never ease their pain or bring back their loved ones. Perhaps they will be able to heal one day--I hope so.

It is now hard to think about being back in Huntsville the day after tomorrow. Well, it is now early Wednesday morning, so I guess I should say tomorrow. DAMN TEXAS!
In struggle,

for the Abolition Movement


Passionate Conservative said...

Randy Ertman appeared on the local news that evening, screaming at the police officers who were struggling to hold him back, “Does she have blond hair?Does she have blond hair?”

The bodies were very badly decomposed, even for four days in Houston’s brutal summer heat and humidity, particularly in the head, neck and genital areas. The medical examiner later testified that this is how she could be sure as to the horrible brutality of the rapes, beatings and murders.

The break in solving the case came from the 911 call. It was traced to the home of the brother of one of the men later sentenced to death for these murders. When the police questioned ‘Gonzalez’, he said that he had made the original call at his 16 year-old wife’s urging. She felt sorry for the families and wanted them to be able to put their daughters’ bodies to rest. ‘Gonzalez’ said that his brother was one of the six people involved in killing the girls, and gave police the names of all but one, the new recruit, whom he did not know. His knowledge of the crimes came from the killers themselves, most of whom came to his home after the murders, bragging and swapping the jewelry they had stolen from the girls.

While Jenny and Elizabeth were living the last few hours of their lives, Peter Cantu, Efrain Perez, Derrick Sean O’Brien, Joe Medellin and Joe’s 14 year old brother were initiating a new member, Raul Villareal, into their gang, known as the Black and Whites. Raul was an acquaintance of Efrain and was not known to the other gang members. They had spent the evening drinking beer and then “jumping in” Raul. This means that the new member was required to fight every member of the gang until he passed out and then he would be accepted as a member. Testimony showed that Raul lasted through three of the members before briefly losing consciousness.

The gang continued drinking for some time and then decided to leave. Two brothers who had been with them but testified that they were not in the gang left first and passed Jenny and Elizabeth, who were unknowingly walking towards their deaths. When Peter Cantu saw Jenny and Elizabeth, he thought it was a man and a woman and told the other gang members that he wanted to jump him and beat him up. He was frustrated that he had been the one who was unable to fight Raul.

Medellin was the first of the gang to start the attack, grabbing Elizabeth, who then cried out for help from her friend. Testimony showed that Jenny had gotten free and could have run away but returned to Elizabeth when she cried out for Jenny to help her. The confessions of the gang members that were used at trial indicated that there was never less than 2 men on each of the girls at any one time and that the girls were repeatedly raped orally, anally and vaginally for the entire hour. One of the gang members later said during the brag session that by the time he got to one of the girls, “she was loose and sloppy.” Medellin boasted of having “virgin blood” on on his underpants.[6]

The 14-year-old juvenile later testified that he had gone back and forth between his brother and Peter Cantu since they were the only ones there that he really knew and kept urging them to leave. He said he was told repeatedly by Peter Cantu to “get some”. He raped Jennifer and was later sentenced to 40 years for aggravated sexual assault, which was the maximum sentence for a juvenile.

After the rapes, the gang members took Jenny and Elizabeth from the clearing into a wooded area, leaving the juvenile behind, saying he was “too little to watch”. Jenny was strangled with the belt of Sean O’Brien, with two murderers pulling, one on each side, until the belt broke. Part of the belt was left at the murder scene, the rest was found in O’Brien’s home. After the belt broke, the killers used her own shoelaces to finish their job. Medellin later complained that “the bitch wouldn’t die” and that it would have been “easier with a gun”. Elizabeth was also strangled with her shoelaces, after crying and begging the gang members not to kill them; she began bargaining, offering to give them her phone number so they could get together again.

The medical examiner testified that Elizabeth’s two front teeth were knocked out of her brutalized mouth before she died and that two of Jennifer’s ribs were broken after she had died. Testimony showed that the girls’ bodies were kicked and their necks were stomped on after the strangulations in order to “make sure that they were really dead.”

The juvenile pled guilty to his charge and the other five were tried for capital murder in Harris County, Texas, convicted and sentenced to death.

Marianne said...

To Gloria--let me get this straight--so getting raped orally, vaginally, anally, your teeth knocked out, stomped on, kicked, and strangled is just as bad as getting a needle in the arm (oh ouch!) and dying in your sleep? This is what we are comparing? Think about it.


No matter how brutal, how horrifying, almost "demonic" the crime is--- this execution can never be can people continue to believe that the death penalty is "justice"? I'm hurt for the victims, José, his family, because we've all lost--and what will his death amount to? Only to stories featured in biased, local webnews and the reverberating hatred against a HUMAN being coming from citizens that I felt would have more decency- reaching the lowest of the lows.

Capital punishment is the most premeditated of all murders, we must take a stand to end this horrible system!

Last night I lost a friend but have yet to lose this battle against the death penalty

Marianne said...

Yes, I can tell you are "hurt for the victims"--the killer has a name "Jose", but the innocent victims are just "the victims". Can't you even say their names? You give yourself away so easily.

Jackson said...

Unless *you* are the loved one of a victim of a crime such as this, you have absolutely *no* right to say whether an execution will or will not bring closure to the families/friends involved. Who are you to think your opinion matters in that context?

God Bless Texas for having the strength to enforce the laws of our land. God Bless Elizabeth and Jennifer and their families/friends/loved ones. And to that remorseless criminal whose name I've already forgotten, good riddance...

foutsc said...

Yeeeee Haw! Don't Mess With Texas!

FYI: "International Law" is toilet paper unless ratified by our government as a treaty or agreement.

--Nietzsche is Dead