Thursday, August 07, 2008

Despite Mexican protests, Texas executes Mexican killer

Despite official protests and public demonstrations in Mexico City, Texas on Tuesday executed Jose Ernesto Medellin, a Mexican national convicted of the 1993 rape and murder of two Texas girls.

Demonstrations had been held in Mexico before the execution. The controversy surrounding his execution is expected to continue, as there are 50 other Mexican citizens on U.S. death rows.

Medellin was 18 when he and five fellow gang members raped Elizabeth Pena, 16, and Jennifer Ertman, 14, then beat and strangled them. Medellin later boasted to friends about the deed.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague court had ordered the United States not to execute any of five men on death row in Texas while the court reviewed their cases. But the court, a branch of the United Nations, had no power to enforce its rulings. A spokesman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, has said that 'the world court has no standing in Texas.'

The Bush administration had tried to intervene in the case, in support of the Mexican government, urging Texas prosecutors to reopen the death row cases. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Bush administration's arguments, ruling 6-3 that under the Constitution, the president did not have the 'unilateral authority' to compel state officials to comply with an international treaty.

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