Edgar Tamayo (AP photo)
A photo composite of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and convicted killer Edgar Arias Tamayo. (Getty Images/Texas Department of Corrections)
Edgar Tamayo Arias, 46, a Mexican national scheduled to be executed in Texas by lethal injection on Jan. 22, apparently won't be alone when his final day comes.
Members of the death row inmate's family — some of whom he hasn't seen in 19 years — arrived in Houston on Sunday. According to Mexican press reports, relatives are scheduled to meet with Tamayo on Monday afternoon.
Tamayo is a native of Miacatlán, in the Mexican state of Morelos, who was convicted of the January 1994 murder of Houston police office Guy P. Gaddis.
He was put on death row, but his sentence was only the beginning of an extremely complicated legal case.
Tamayo’s case was one of 51 in the U.S. — 14 of them in Texas — that the International Court of Justice, the United Nation’s top judicial body, asked the United States to review the judgment in 2004 as part of an examination of possible violations of the Vienna Convention.
Tamayo claims he was never informed that he had the right to contact the Mexican consulate.
Since then, various Mexican officials, including the country’s foreign minister, the governor of Morelos and the country’s ambassador to the United States have intervened on his behalf, trying to get Texas to stay his execution and co-operate with the International Court.
Both the Bush and Obama administrations have pushed for the states to do so as well, but, in 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that without a federal law directing states to act on requests from the International Court, they were not compelled to comply.
Last month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrote a letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry and state Attorney General Greg Abbott, saying that the execution could have serious diplomatic repercussions.
“Our consular visits help ensure U.S. citizens detained overseas have access to food and appropriate medical care, if needed, as well as access to legal representation," Kerry wrote.
A handful of missionary groups have agreed. Red Letter Christians, for one, started a petition on Friday with the headline, “Tamayo’s Execution puts Missionaries Everywhere in Danger,” asking Gov. Perry to change his mind.
At the beginning of the year, Abbott indicated that Tamayo’s execution would proceed as planned. His attorneys, Sandra Babcock and Maurie Levin, continue to explore ways to bring pressure to bear on the case.
A Jan. 6 statement asked Abbott to reconsider, indicating that Tamayo is “a mentally retarded, brain damaged man who spoke almost no English at the time of his arrest.”
Last week, Morelos governor Graco Ramírez Garrido said he received a reply from Austin. "We have received your petition,” the message said. “It doesn't matter where you are from. If you commit this kind of despicable crime in Texas, you will be held accountable to our laws, including the maximum punishment."
In a Jan. 9 statement, Tamayo’s lawyers said: “Governor Perry's response reflects a persistent ignorance of the issues involved. In seeking to reduce them to a politically popular soundbite, he has shown disrespect for the Governor of Morelos, and astonishing insensitivity to the seriousness with which this issue has been treated by the Government of Mexico, two U.S. presidents, Secretary of State Kerry, evangelical leaders, and the International Court of Justice, among others.”
Meantime, the condemned man’s relatives probably hope that their meeting with him on Monday won’t be their last.