Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Texas executed Jose Medellin

Texas executed Jose Medellin tonight despite the International Court of Justice order to halt the executions. Here is the NYT article on the execution:

HOUSTON — In a case that has drawn international attention, Texas executed José E. Medellín on Tuesday night in defiance of an international court ruling and despite pleas from the Bush administration for a new hearing.

The execution came just before 10 p.m. Central time, shortly after the United States Supreme Court denied a last request for a reprieve. Protesters for and against the death penalty clamored in the rain outside the Huntsville Unit, about 70 miles north of Houston, where Mr. Medellín was executed by lethal injection.

“I’m sorry my actions caused you pain,” he said to the witnesses present. “I hope this brings you the closure that you seek. Never harbor hate.”

Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, rejected calls from Mexico and Washington to delay the execution, citing the torture, rape and strangulation of two teenage girls in Houston 15 years ago as just cause for the death penalty.

Mr. Medellín and five other teenage boys in his street gang took part in the rape and murder of the girls, Elizabeth Pena, 16, and Jennifer Ertman, 14. The gang raped the girls for an hour, then strangled them. Their corpses were found two days later.

Two other members of the gang were also sentenced to die. Two had their sentences commuted to life in prison. The sixth, Mr. Medellín’s brother, Vernacio, is serving a 40-year sentence.

Mr. Medellín’s case has become the focal point of a dispute between Mexico and the United States over whether some Mexicans have been denied fair trials because they were never given an opportunity to talk to a consul. A 1963 treaty requires foreigners accused of crimes to be given that opportunity.

Over the last five days, Mr. Medellín’s lawyers tried to stop the execution by arguing to the Supreme Court that it should be put off until Congress had a chance to pass pending legislation that would require a review of similar cases. They argued that Mr. Medellín would be deprived of life without due process if he died before Congress acted.

But the court, in a 5-to-4 decision, said the possibility of Congressional action was too remote to justify a stay. Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote in dissent that to permit the execution would place the United States “irremediably in violation of international law and breaks our treaty promises.”

Mexico opposes the death penalty and has used the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to try to block the executions of Mr. Medellín and 50 other Mexicans in the United States. Moments after the execution, Mexico sent a formal diplomatic protest to Washington.

Twice in the last five years, the International Court of Justice, at the Hague, has said hearings should be held to determine if the 51 trials were fair.

Worried about fallout for Americans abroad, the State Department, the attorney general and the White House all urged Texas to delay the execution.


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...

His execution was well deserved; just wish he had suffered 1/10 of what Jennifer and Elizabeth suffered. To the Medillin supporters, Jennifer and Elizabeth were the victims; that is the REAL victims--the girls who were raped and murdered by your prince.

Anonymous said...

Yeeee 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