Texas Attorney General
Media Advisory: Edgar A. Tamayo scheduled for
AUSTIN – Pursuant to a court order from the
209th District Court of Harris County, Edgar Arias Tamayo is
scheduled for execution after 6 p.m. on Jan. 22, 2014.
On Nov. 1, 1994, Tamayo was sentenced to die
for the shooting death of Houston Police Officer Guy Gaddis.
FACTS OF THE CRIME
The United States Court of Appeals for the
Fifth Circuit described Gaddis’s murder as follows:
Tamayo and another man were arrested in the
parking lot of a bar in Harris County, Texas on January 31, 1994,
for robbing another patron. After the men were searched and
handcuffed, Officer Guy Gaddis of the Houston Police Department
placed them in a patrol car, with Tamayo seated behind Officer
Gaddis. When Officer Gaddis stopped to make a phone call, Tamayo
revealed to the other passenger that he had a gun in his
waistband. Tamayo managed to remove the gun from his waistband
despite the fact that he was handcuffed. When Officer Gaddis
returned to the vehicle and drove away, Tamayo shot Officer Gaddis
multiple times. The patrol car crashed into a residence, and
Tamayo escaped through a broken window. The police were called to
the scene and captured Tamayo as he ran down the street near the
crash, still handcuffed. Officer Gaddis was taken to the hospital
immediately, but he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Tamayo gave two written statements admitting
that he had the gun in the police car, that he shot Gaddis, and
that he knew Gaddis was a police officer. At trial, the evidence
indicated that Tamayo, rather than the other passenger, was the
shooter. The State also presented evidence that Tamayo had
purchased the gun several days before the murder.
PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY
Under Texas law, the rules of evidence prevent
certain prior criminal acts from being presented to a jury during
the guilt-innocence phase of the trial. However, once a defendant
is found guilty, jurors are presented information about the
defendant’s prior criminal conduct during the second phase of the
trial – which is when they determine the defendant’s punishment.
During the punishment phase of Tamayo’s trial,
the State offered evidence of Tamayo’s criminal history and
convictions, which included threatening bodily harm to several
people. The State also offered evidence that Tamayo fired a gun in
a mobile home park in the direction of other mobile homes and, on
another occasion, was spotted chasing a man while in possession of
As mitigation evidence, Tamayo’s counsel
offered the testimony of three bailiffs who escorted Tamayo to and
from the courtroom, who stated that he was respectful and had
never been violent. Two former co-workers testified that Tamayo
worked with them and that they had no trouble with him.
Finally, Tamayo’s parents testified that Tamayo
had not been in trouble as a child and that he never wanted for
food or shelter. Both parents indicated that they were sorry for
the pain their son caused Gaddis’s family and pleaded with the
jury to spare Tamayo’s life. In rebuttal, the State called a
fourth bailiff who testified that Tamayo was aggressive and
On Sept. 27, 1994, a Harris County grand jury
On Oct. 27, 1994, after a trial in the 209th
District Court of Harris County, jurors found Tamayo guilty of
On Nov. 1, 1994, after a punishment hearing,
the court sentenced Tamayo to death.
On Dec. 11, 1996, the Court of Criminal
Appeals affirmed Tamayo’s conviction and sentence.
On Feb. 23, 1998, Tamayo filed first state
application for habeas corpus relief.
On June 11, 2003, the Court of Criminal
Appeals denied Tamayo’s first state application for habeas
On June 17, 2003, Tamayo filed his first
subsequent state writ application.
On Sept. 10, 2003, the Court of Criminal
Appeals dismissed Tamayo’s first subsequent writ application.
On Sept. 11, 2003, Tamayo filed his petition
for federal habeas corpus relief.
On Mar. 21, 2005, Tamayo filed his second
subsequent state writ application.
On July 2, 2008, the Court of Criminal
Appeals dismissed Tamayo’s second subsequent writ application.
On Mar. 8, 2010, Tamayo filed his third
subsequent state writ application.
On June 9, 2010, the Court of Criminal
Appeals dismissed Tamayo’s third subsequent writ application.
On Mar. 25, 2011, the federal district court
for the Southern District of Texas denied habeas corpus relief.
On April 4, 2011, Tamayo filed his notice of
On July 20, 2011, Tamayo sought permission to
appeal by filing his application for certificate of
appealability in the Fifth Circuit.
On Dec. 21, 2011, the Fifth Circuit denied
Tamayo’s application for a certificate of appealability.
On Jan. 17, 2012, Tamayo petitioned for
On Feb. 15, 2012, Tamayo’s petition for
rehearing was denied.
On May 14, 2012, Tamayo sought certiorari
review with the U.S. Supreme Court.
On Nov. 13, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court
denied certiorari review.
Mexican man executed for HPD officer's death
Turner - Chron.com
January 22, 2014
HUNTSVILLE — Edgar Tamayo, the Houston cop killer whose case
rallied advocates from Mexico to Washington, D.C., went to his
death without a word Wednesday in the state's Huntsville death
He was the first Texas killer to be executed this year; the first
of four Harris County murderers set to die in the next four
Tamayo, 46, was condemned for the January 1994 murder of Houston
police officer Guy Gaddis, 24. Tamayo, who had been imprisoned in
California for aggravated robbery, shot the officer three times
with a pistol hidden in his clothing as he was being taken to
The execution was delayed three hours as the U.S. Supreme Court
considered whether to take up his final appeals based on mental
retardation and the violation of his United Nations treaty rights
to contact his consulate.
As Tamayo was escorted to the execution room, police officers who
had come to demonstrate support of the victim's family revved
The lethal injection was administered at 9:15 p.m. and Tamayo was
declared dead 17 minutes later.
Tamayo made no final statement, but earlier Wednesday he told
prison officials that he was "ready to go."
"Twenty years is too long," he said of the time he had spent on
Gaddis family speaks
After the execution, members of the Gaddis family addressed the
media. As reporters waited for them to take the stand,
representatives of the Mexican government expressed support for
the killer's family and decried the execution.
Then Gayle Gaddis, walking with apparent difficulty, approached
the microphone. "A little bit of my shredded heart is feeling
better," she said.
Speaking in English and Spanish, the officer's brother, Gary
Gaddis, offered condolences to the Tamayo family, but said those
gathered "should remember the real victim."
Outside the death house, Tamayo's supporters held aloft a framed
picture of Jesus and prayed in Spanish. "Honor Dr. King Stop
Executions," their placards read. "Father, Son, Brother. Edgar is
Loved By Many."
On the prison's other end, about 50 policemen - part of the usual
motorcycle motorcade that arrives when killers of police are
executed - talked quietly, awaiting the execution hour.
Gun hidden in clothes
Events leading to Gaddis' death began early on the morning of Jan.
21, 1994, when a man flagged down the officer's car to report that
he had been robbed by two men in the parking lot of the Topaz Club
in southwest Houston.
Gaddis found Tamayo and the second man at the scene.
The men repeatedly were subjected to pat-down searches, but police
overlooked a pistol hidden in Tamayo's waistband. Both were
handcuffed and placed in the squad car's back seat.
After extricating the pistol, Tamayo told Gaddis he didn't want to
go to jail. Then he opened fire. Two slugs shattered the
policeman's skull, a third lodged in his neck. Tamayo escaped by
breaking a squad car window but was apprehended a short distance
"It's the police officer's fault for not having searched me good,"
Tamayo later told police.
Gaddis, who had wanted to become a policeman since age 10, had
been told just four days before his death that he would become a
Tamayo's case gained international attention because authorities
failed to tell him that he could contact his nation's consulate
under provisions of a United Nations treaty.
Had Tamayo talked with Mexican officials in Houston, his lawyers
said, efforts to locate witnesses in Mexico could have begun in a
Such testimony, they contended, might have established mitigating
circumstances during his trial's punishment phase and saved his
The Mexican Consulate was apprised of Tamayo's case about 10 days
before his trial.
Intensifying the controversy was the state's refusal to give
Tamayo a court hearing to determine how his lost chance to contact
Mexican officials affected his trial, his lawyers said.
The Texas attorney general's office said it offered Tamayo a court
review, but the killer rejected the offer.
In 2004, an international court ruled that the cases of Tamayo and
other prisoners whose treaty rights were violated should be
granted hearings. Mexican and U.S. officials, including Secretary
of State John Kerry, repeatedly called for such a hearing.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry responded that killers
committing their crimes in Texas would answer to Texas laws.
Mexican National Edgar Tamayo
By Michael Graczyk - Associated Press
January 22, 2014
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The execution of a
Mexican national was at least temporarily put on hold Wednesday as
the U.S. Supreme Court considered appeals to keep 46-year-old
Edgar Tamayo from the Texas death chamber.
Tamayo's execution had been scheduled for 6
p.m. CST Wednesday for the slaying 20 years ago of a Texas police
officer, Guy Gaddis, 24. The state still could execute Tamayo
before midnight if the Supreme Court rules in its favor.
Texas officials have opposed appeals to stop
the scheduled lethal injection, despite pleas and diplomatic
pressure from the Mexican government and the U.S. State
Tamayo's attorneys and the Mexican government
contend Tamayo's case was tainted because he wasn't advised under
an international agreement that he could get legal help from his
home nation after his arrest. Legal assistance guaranteed under
that treaty could have uncovered evidence to contest the capital
murder charge or provide evidence to keep Tamayo off death row,
Mexican officials have said.
Records show the consulate became involved or
aware of the case just as his trial was to begin.
Secretary of State John Kerry previously asked
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to delay Tamayo's punishment,
saying it "could impact the way American citizens are treated in
other countries." The State Department repeated that stance
But Abbott's office and the Harris County
district attorney opposed postponing what would be the first
execution this year in the nation's most active capital punishment
state, where 16 people were put to death in 2013.
The high court was considering at least two
appeals. One focused on the consular issue. The other was related
to whether Tamayo was mentally impaired and ineligible for the
death penalty. The execution warrant remains in effect until
Tamayo's lawyers went to the Supreme Court
after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said an appeal this
week renewing an earlier contention that Tamayo was mentally
impaired and ineligible for execution was filed too late.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on
Tuesday rejected Tamayo's request for clemency.
"It doesn't matter where you're from," Perry
spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said. "If you commit a despicable crime
like this in Texas, you are subject to our state laws, including a
fair trial by jury and the ultimate penalty."
Gaddis, who had been on the force for two
years, was driving Tamayo and another man from a robbery scene
when evidence showed the officer was shot three times in the head
and neck with a pistol Tamayo had concealed in his pants. The car
crashed, and Tamayo fled on foot but was captured a few blocks
away, still in handcuffs, carrying the robbery victim's watch and
wearing the victim's necklace.
At least two other inmates in circumstances
similar to Tamayo's were executed in Texas in recent years.
The Mexican government said in a statement this
week it "strongly opposed" the execution and said failure to
review Tamayo's case and reconsider his sentence would be "a clear
violation by the United States of its international obligations."
Tamayo was in the U.S. illegally and had a
criminal record in California, where he had served time for
robbery and was paroled, according to prison records.
"Not one person is claiming the suspect didn't
kill Guy Gaddis," Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police
Officers' Union, said. "He had the same rights as you and I would
"This has been looked at, heard, examined and
it's time for the verdict of the jury to be carried out."
Tamayo was among more than four dozen Mexican
nationals awaiting execution in the U.S. when the International
Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled in 2004 they
hadn't been advised properly of their consular rights. The Supreme
Court subsequently said hearings urged by the international court
in those inmates' cases could be mandated only if Congress
implemented legislation to do so.
"Unfortunately, this legislation has not been
adopted," the Mexican foreign ministry acknowledged.