Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Ignacio GOMEZ





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Retaliation
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: November 23, 1996
Date of birth: December 2, 1969
Victims profile: 16-year-old twin brothers Michael and Matthew Meredith and 19-year-old Toby Hatheway Jr.
Method of murder: Shooting (.357-caliber pistol)
Location: El Paso County, Texas, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on December 10, 1998

The United States Court of Appeals
For the Fifth Circuit


opinion 04-70047

Name TDCJ Number Date of Birth
Gomez, Ignacio 999290 12/02/1969
Date Received Age (when Received) Education Level
12/10/1998 29 9
Date of Offense Age (at the Offense) County
11/23/1996 26 El Paso
Race Gender Hair Color
Hispanic Male Black
Height Weight Eye Color
5' 6" 155 Brown
Native County Native State Prior Occupation
Chicuayua Mexico Laborer
Prior Prison Record
Summary of incident

On 11/23/96, during the nighttime, in El Paso, Gomez fatally shot an 18-year old white male and two 16-year old white males with a 357-caliber pistol.

Gomez observed the three males walking down the road near his mother's residence.

Gomez thought they were the ones who hade broken into his mother's residence.

Gomez and three co-defendants got into a fight with the three males. Gomez shot the three white males repeatedly in the head and then buried them in the sand dunes in the desert.


Gomez, Jose

Gomez, Roberto

Guillen, Joel

Race and Gender of Victims
three white males

Ignacio Gomez TX DR Inmate #999290 Denied COA by 5th Circuit

May 28, 2008

HOUSTON A Mexican national convicted of gunning down three El Paso teenagers has lost a federal court appeal, moving him a step closer to execution.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to allow Ignacio Gomez to move forward with additional appeals for the 1996 murders of 16-year-old twin brothers Michael and Matthew Meredith and 19-year-old Toby Hatheway Jr. The three were shot in an apparent retaliation for some broken windows at the home of Gomez's mother. Their bodies were buried in a shallow grave in the desert.

Gomez, 38, argued he was unconstitutionally deprived of his rights under an international treaty. At the time of the slayings, court documents show he was in the United States legally and living in El Paso with relatives.

His attorneys argued unsuccessfully even before his capital murder trial that police who arrested him should have told him of his right to legal assistance from the Mexican consulate, and that police who took his confession knew he was a resident alien but didn't advise him of his Vienna Convention rights.

The New Orleans-based 5th Circuit withheld ruling on Gomez's request for what's known as a certificate of appealability until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in another Texas case with similar international treaty issues. The justices in March rejected that appeal, affecting Gomez and more than a dozen other Mexican nationals on Texas death row.

The 5th Circuit ruling, posted late Tuesday, specifically dealt with Gomez's case.

Gomez also argued potential jurors were excluded improperly from his trial jury and that jurors should have been told a life sentence would have meant 40 years in prison before he could be eligible for parole. The 5th Circuit rejected those claims as well.

Testimony at Gomez's trial showed the three victims were walking along a dirt road when they were approached by Gomez and several companions riding in an SUV.

After a fight broke out, Gomez pulled a handgun and opened fire, hitting one of the victims in the head. He continued to fire, striking the second victim. After reloading, a fleeing third victim was tracked down and shot in the head, then all three were driven away and buried.

Gomez's companions turned themselves in and confessed. Their information led authorities to Gomez, who also confessed and told detectives where they could find the murder weapon, according to court documents. In his confession, he told how he made "the last guy ... sit next to his friends" and then shot him in the head and "shot him some more." Gomez said he "just went out of control" because his mother had been frightened after the windows at her home were broken.

Gomez, who was about a week short of his 27th birthday at the time of the shootings, had no previous prison record. But prosecutors at his trial showed he had at least three convictions for driving while intoxicated, had been arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon and once tried to run down someone with a truck.



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