Execution proceeds despite opposition

HUNTSVILLE – In the face of intense international opposition, the state of Texas ended the life of convicted killer Javier SuA?rez Medina, 33, Wednesday at 6:23 p.m.

In response, Mexican President Vicente Fox protested the execution by canceling his previously scheduled trip to Texas and a meeting with President Bush.

Speaking from Huntsville, Mexican Consul General Eduardo Ibarrola said, “Mexico’s relationship with the United States is very complex and intense.”

The U.S. Supreme Court denied SuA?rez Medina a stay of execution. Gov. Rick Perry also declined to grant a one-time, 30-day reprieve.

A jury convicted SuA?rez Medina, a Mexican national, in 1989 for the 1988 shooting murder of Dallas-area anti-narcotics officer Lawrence Cadena, 43. Cadena was one of five officers killed in the line of duty in 1988. That year, Dallas had one of the highest homicide rates in the United States.

In the subsequent gun battle with police after Cadena’s death, SuA?rez Medina and a companion were shot in the legs. Another companion died at the scene.

Before his execution, SuA?rez Medina apologized for his crime and said he was “ready to go home.” He thanked the Mexican people for their recent show of support.

The Mexican Congress passed resolutions 10 days ago condemning the execution and the violation of international treaty protocols, which gives those arrested the right to consular notification.

At a press conference after the execution, Ibarrola again protested the application of the death penalty in SuA?rez Medina’s case and in the United States generally.

“We consider that the death penalty is unnecessary to combat crime, that it is not useful and that it does not resolve the suffering of the victims,” Ibarrola said.

Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Lori Ordiway, however, said, “We are taking care of the rights of the people in this state, not to be the victims of crime. Their rights sometimes seem to be forgotten as well.”

The Consul General of Argentina, Horacio Wamba, accompanied the Mexican Consul to Huntsville as a sign of international protest.

After the execution, Cadena’s son, Lawrence Rudy Cadena, also a police officer, issued a statement to the press. Cadena thanked all those who had helped bring justice to this case and complimented SuA?rez Medina’s defense team for securing a “fair” trial, but refused to answer any questions.

In a letter to Fox delivered to the Mexican consul general in Dallas Tuesday, Cadena asked why the president had chosen to communicate with Perry rather than with Cadena, whose children are Mexican citizens.

“Why is [Mexico], the country of my children, defending a man who killed their grandfather?” said Cadena.

The international profile of SuA?rez Medina’s execution attracted about 20 death penalty opponents to Huntsville.

“I think in Texas, like in many other states, people accept [the death penalty] as natural, and it doesn’t occur to them there is [anything] wrong with it,” said Nancy Bailey of Houston, an anti-death penalty protester.

Bailey said she comes to Huntsville regularly to protest executions. Bailey said that for SuA?rez Medina’s execution, there was a “little more activity than we are used to.”

Kelly Epstein, another anti-death penalty protester, said she was not surprised by law officers’ violation of the Vienna Convention guaranteeing the right to consular notification.

“If we don’t [abolish the death penalty], then we have no right to preach at other countries like Iran,” Epstein said.

Copyright The Daily Texan