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EXECUTED - Jose Medellin - Texas Death Row - Scheduled Execution
Scheduled Executions
Upcoming Executions
Start : Tuesday 5 August 2008, 22:00
End : Tuesday 5 August 2008, 22:00


Jose Medellin - Texas Death Row - Scheduled Execution for August 5, 2008

EXECUTED 9:57PM

Victims: Jennifer Ertmen and Elizabeth Pena

The Crime: Medellin was convicted of the raping and killing 16-year-old Elizabeth Pena and 15-year-old Jennifer Ertman in June, 1993. His case has since gained notoriety as Mexico sued the United states in the International Court of Justice and on behalf of 54 Mexican nationals asserting that, in these cases, the US had violated the Vienna Convention, to which it is signatory, which requires that local authorities inform foreign nationals being held on criminal charges of the right to consult with their country’s diplomats. That court ruled that the United States was obliged to have the defendants’ cases reopened and reconsidered. The Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear the case on May 1, 2007. On March 25, 2008, the US Supreme Court rejected the Bush administration's arguments and cleared the way for Texas to execute his sentence.

-------------------------

Full Story of the Crime:
What happened...

Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena were 14 and 16 years old, respectively. They were friends who attended the same high school in Houston, Texas, Waltrip High School. On June 24, 1993, the girls spent the day together....and then died together.

They were last seen by friends about 11:15 at night, when they left a friend's apartment to head home, to beat summer curfew at 11:30. They knew they would be late if they took the normal path home, down W. 34th Street to T.C. Jester, both busy streets. They also knew they would have to pass a sexually-oriented business on that route and so decided to take a well-known shortcut down a railroad track and through a city park to Elizabeth's neighborhood.

The next morning, the girls parents began to frantically look for them, paging them on their pagers, calling their friends to see if they knew where they were, to no avail. The families filed missing persons reports with the Houston Police Department and continued to look for the girls on their own. The Ertmans and Penas gathered friends and neighbors to help them pass out a huge stack of fliers with the girls' pictures all over the Houston area, even giving them to newspaper vendors on the roadside.

Four days after the girls disappeared, a person identifying himself as 'Gonzalez' called the Crimestoppers Tips number. He told the call taker that the missing girls' bodies could be found near T.C. Jester Park at White Oak bayou. The police were sent to the scene and searched the park without finding anything. The police helicopter was flying over the park and this apparently prompted Mr. 'Gonzalez' to make a 911 call, directing the search to move to the other side of the bayou. When the police followed this suggestion, they found the badly decaying bodies of Jenny and Elizabeth.

Jennifer Ertman's dad, Randy Ertman, was about to give an interview regarding the missing girls to a local televisiojustify">Fortunately, they did manage to keep Randy from entering the woods and seeing his daughter's brutalized body and that of her friend Elizabeth, but they were unable to escape that fate themselves. I saw hardened, lifelong cops get tears in their eyes when talking about the scene more than a year later. 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, of course, 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 and 'shooting the breeze' 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.

The gang members ran and grabbed Elizabeth and pulled her down the incline, off of the tracks. 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.

For the next hour or so, these beautiful, innocent young girls were subjected to the most brutal gang rapes that most of the investigating officers had ever encountered. 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." One of the boys boasted of having 'virgin blood' on him.

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.

When the rapes finally ended, the horror was not over. 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; 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 his sentence will be reviewed when he turns 18, at which time he could be released. The other five were tried for capital murder in Harris County, Texas, convicted and sentenced to death. I attended all five trials with the Ertmans and know too well the awful things that they and the Penas had to hear and see in the course of seeing Justice served for their girls.

Two VERY important things in the criminal justice system have changed as a result of these murders. After the trial of Peter Cantu, Judge Bill Harmon allowed the family members to address the convicted. This had not previously been done in Texas courts and now is done as a matter of routine.

The other change came from the Texas Department of Corrections which instituted a new policy allowing victims' families the choice and right to view the execution of their perpetrators.


News: HUNTSVILLE -- The state of Texas defied an international court tonight and executed Jose Medellin for raping and murdering two Houston teenage girls 15 years ago.

About a half-hour earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had rejected a last-minute appeal to stay the execution, originally scheduled for 6 p.m. Medellin, 33, was pronounced dead at 9:57 p.m., nine minutes after the lethal dose was administered.

Medellin was apologetic in his final statement when he said: "I'm sorry that my actions brought you pain. I hope this brings you the closure that you seek.''

At issue was Medellin's assertion that authorities refused his right to contact the Mexican consulate after his arrest, violating a 1963 treaty signed by the United States and 165 other countries that should have allowed him to do so.

Medellin is one of three people condemned for the June 1993 gang rape and murder of Jennifer Ertman, 14, and Elizabeth Pena, 16, in T.C. Jester Park on Houston's northwest side.

The girls were raped and strangled with a belt and shoelace after they stumbled into a drunken gang initiation rite while cutting through the park to get home before their curfew.

As the Supreme Court deliberated earlier today, opposing groups of protesters gathered outside the death house. When the prison clock chimed six, a group of U.S. Border Watch members and others broke into cheers, thinking the execution had occurred.

Elaine Jackson of Houston, who identified herself as a friend of the Pena family, was among those supporting the execution.

"The girls didn't get a second chance, why should he?" she demanded. "Why should he keep on breathing?"

On the other side of the street, Nancy Bailey was among those opposing the execution. Putting Medellin to death, she said, would flout the nation's treaty commitments and would endanger Americans arrested abroad.

Medellin, who granted few interviews while on death row, told a Mexican news reporter that he had 15 years in prison to compose his emotions. On Monday and Tuesday, he visited with his parents, whom he had not seen since 2001.

Prison spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said the parents were barred from the prison after they were overheard plotting an escape for Medellin. Also Tuesday, Medellin spoke by telephone to his younger brother, Venacio, who is serving a 40-year sentence in connection with the crime.

Six gang members were convicted of the killings. Derrick O'Brien was executed in July 2006. Gang leader Peter Cantu remains on death row. Two others, who were 17 at the time of the crime, had their death sentences commuted to life in prison. The younger Medellin, who was a juvenile, was sentenced to a 40-year prison term.

Ertman and Pena were raped and strangled after they stumbled into a drunken gang initiation rite while cutting through the park in order to get home before a curfew.

For days after the murders, police and the girls' parents frantically searched for the missing teens. Four days after the crime, a tip from a gang member's brother led authorities to the bodies, then to the suspects.

Within three hours of his arrest, Medellin admitted his role in the gruesome murders, appalling authorities with his boastful, callous description of the night's events.

In 2004, the United Nation's world court ordered a hearing be held to determine if the alleged treaty violation damaged the killer's defense. In July, it ordered that a stay be granted.

President Bush and other federal officials urged Texas to grant the hearing, but Texas officials adamantly refused.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

source: chron.com

Last Meal: to follow.....

Final Statement: I am sorry my actions caused pain. I hope this brings closure to what you seek. Don't ever hate them for what they do. Never harbor hate. I love you. Alright Warden.



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Posted: 2008/8/5 23:11  Updated: 2008/8/5 23:11
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 MEDELLIN EXECUTED
HUNTSVILLE, TX -- Texas has executed Mexican-born condemned prisoner Jose Medellin for the 1993 rape-slayings of two teenage Houston girls.
The state carried out the execution late Tuesday night after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his request for a reprieve in a split vote. Medellin, 33, claimed he was denied treaty-guaranteed help from the Mexican consulate when he was arrested.
His execution, the fifth this year in the nation's busiest capital punishment state, attracted international attention because of the claims although Texas authorities said he never invoked his consular rights until four years after he was arrested. By then, he had been convicted and condemned of participating in the fatal attack of Elizabeth Pena, 16, and Jennifer Ertman, 14.
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Posted: 2008/8/5 22:37  Updated: 2008/8/5 22:37
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 DENIED!!! Texas - TIME TO ROLL ON THIS ONE!!
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Posted: 2008/8/5 20:15  Updated: 2008/8/5 20:15
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 Awaiting SCOTUS ruling.
from scotusblog: UPDATE 7:40 p.m. Tuesday. The scheduled time for execution of Jose Ernesto Medellin in Texas came and went Tuesday evening, with prison officials indicating they were awaiting word from the Supreme Court before proceeding.
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Posted: 2008/8/5 20:02  Updated: 2008/8/5 20:02
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 US says it can't intervene in Mexican's execution
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Posted: 2008/8/5 19:15  Updated: 2008/8/5 19:15
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 Medellin execution put on hold
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Posted: 2008/8/5 18:04  Updated: 2008/8/5 18:04
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 Let it roll - TEXAS ROCKS!
Time has come, no more phone calls for Medellin, the Witnesses to the execution are being brought into the administration building of the Walls Unit and preparations for tonights event will begin.

Sodium Thiopental - check
Pancuronium Bromide - check
Potassium Chloride - check
Dull Rusty Needle - check

Looks like everything is in order for Medellins anti-crime vaccine tonight.

Texas - let it roll!
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Posted: 2008/8/5 15:03  Updated: 2008/8/5 15:03
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 Lawyers for Jose Medellin say execution violates treaty
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Posted: 2008/8/5 9:42  Updated: 2008/8/5 9:42
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 Medellin execution on after pleas fail
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Posted: 2008/7/31 9:10  Updated: 2008/7/31 9:10
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 Showdown over a Texas execution
The United States is fast approaching a showdown over its commitment to the rule of international law as Texas prepares to carry out the scheduled Aug. 5 execution of convicted killer and rapist Jose Medellin.

On July 14, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ordered the US government to "take all measures necessary" to prevent the execution of Mr. Medellin and four other Mexican nationals awaiting execution dates on death row in Texas.

But Medellin is in the custody of Texas authorities, not the federal government, and the Texas governor says he intends to push forward with the execution next Tuesday.

Congress could take quick action to defuse the international imbroglio, but legal analysts say intervening in the Medellin case would be politically risky for national lawmakers in an election year.

The case highlights a heated debate over the relevance of international legal rulings in the American justice system. It is a flash point in an ongoing rivalry pitting American law against international law, and the controversy is playing out in an emotional case involving race, rape, murder, and capital punishment Texas-style.

"We don't really care where you are from; if you commit a heinous and despicable crime you are going to face the ultimate penalty under our laws," says Allison Castle, a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R). "No foreign national is going to receive any additional protection than a Texas citizen would."

US dispute with Mexico

The Medellin case is at the center of a long-running dispute between Mexico and the United States over the failure of US officials in the past to notify the Mexican consulate when Mexican citizens are arrested in the US. Such notification is required under an international treaty, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

The US government acknowledged the treaty violations and apologized.

But Mexico wanted more. It took its case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court. In 2004, the court sided with Mexico and ordered the US to conduct special hearings in the Medellin case and 50 other cases involving Mexicans sentenced to death in various states.

The World Court ordered the American courts to determine whether the lack of consular notification prejudiced the outcome of any trial. If so, the conviction and death sentence should be overturned, the court said.

Following the ruling, the governor of Oklahoma commuted the death sentence of Mexican national Osvaldo Torres. Mr. Torres is now serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

But in neighboring Texas, officials have taken a different stance. The Texas courts ruled in the Medellin case that he is not entitled to a new round of appeals despite the World Court decision.

Medellin has lived in the US since age 3 and speaks fluent English, but because he never obtained US citizenship he was entitled to be notified of his right to consult with Mexican consular officials after his arrest. As part of his original case, a Texas judge ruled that the lack of consular notification in Medellin's case had not undercut the fairness of his trial. But the World Court ordered a new hearing anyway.

In an effort to resolve the international dispute, President Bush issued a memorandum directing the Texas courts to conduct the new hearings. Again, Texas refused.

The issue went to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in March that both the World Court decision and the president's memo were not binding on the Texas courts. That cleared the way for Medellin's execution.

But it didn't absolve the US government from compliance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and compliance generally with World Court decisions enforcing the convention.

"There is no doubt that the US has an international obligation here, and it sure looks like it won't comply with it," says Duncan Hollis, a professor and international law expert at Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

Notorious in Texas

The Medellin case is notorious in Texas. Medellin admitted involvement in the gang rape and murder of two girls. The girls, ages 14 and 16, took a shortcut home through the woods, where they were spotted by members of a street gang. Medellin and other gang members chased the girls, raped them, and then killed them to prevent them from reporting the crime.

The case is becoming notorious for another reason. It threatens to undercut US standing in the world by suggesting a lack of respect for the ICJ, analysts say.

Some legal experts warn that the government's posture could endanger Americans traveling, living, or working overseas.

"Americans who are detained abroad may well lose the critical protection of ensured access to United States consular officers," wrote Lucy Reed, president of the American Society of International Law (ASIL), in a recent letter to leaders in Congress.

Ms. Reed and nine past presidents of ASIL are urging Congress to quickly pass legislation to create a legal mechanism to enforce the World Court ruling.

A measure was introduced in Congress, but there has been no effort to pass the bill, or even debate it. Analysts say the issue is radioactive in an election year.

"On the one hand this is a story of international law and treaty obligations that bind the United States of America," says Professor Hollis. "On the other hand this is the story of a gangbanger in Texas who raped and killed two teenaged girls."

Hollis adds, "Somebody in Congress may see the value of protecting the treaty obligations and the national interests of the United States and also be concerned about the political fallout for voting for a statute that might be used against them [in an election campaign] because you are perceived as soft on crime."

source: http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0731/p03s05-usju.html
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Posted: 2008/7/29 11:35  Updated: 2008/7/30 9:45
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 Federal officials try to block Texas execution to allow review of case
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 Medellin death penalty case exposes hollow Texas brand of gunslinger politics