Medellin, 33, will die for the 1993 rape-strangulation of two teenage Houston girls, Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Peña.

Texas defies global outcry from U.N., Bush, other leaders in the controversial case

Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Politicians worry about the impact on Americans arrested in foreign countries should Texas execute Jose Medellin.

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Unless the U.S. Supreme Court or Gov. Rick Perry acts in his favor, Medellin, 33, will die for the 1993 rape-strangulation of two teenage Houston girls, Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Peña.

Jennifer's father, Randy Ertman, dismissed international opposition to the execution.

"It's just a last-ditch effort to keep the scumbag breathing," Ertman said. "He never should have been breathing in the first place. I don't care, I really don't care what anyone thinks about this except Texas. I love Texas. Texas is in my blood."

At issue is Texas' refusal to hold a hearing to determine whether Medellin's defense was harmed by his inability to confer with Mexican consular officials at the time of his arrest. A suspect's right to talk with his consulate is guaranteed by the United Nations' Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which the United States is a party.

Medellin insists he told both Houston police and Harris County officers that he is a Mexican citizen. Prosecutors say the killer never informed authorities of his nationality.

In a sworn statement, Medellin said he learned that the Mexican Consulate could possibly help him in 1997, four years after his arrest. He unsuccessfully petitioned the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on the issue in 1998.

In 2004, the U.N.'s world court, responding to a Mexican lawsuit against the United States, ordered that hearings be held for Medellin and dozens of other inmates denied their consular rights. In 2005, President Bush called for the hearings to be held. Texas challenged the decision, and the Supreme Court determined that only Congress could mandate such action. In July, the world court ordered Medellin's execution be stayed.

Perry has argued Texas isn't bound by the decisions of international courts and that the state is determined to hold killers, regardless of their nationality, responsible for their crimes.

Texas has rebuffed not only the U.N. and Bush, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and the judicial arm of the Organization of American States, which has demanded Medellin receive a new trial.

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