Edgar Tamayo was put to death on Wednesday after a last-ditch appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court failed to save the convicted cop killer.
Tamayo was a Mexican national who had been on death row in Texas after being convicted of killing a Houston police officer in 1994. Officer Guy Gaddis was fatally show while arresting Edgar Tamayo for a robbery.
Supporters of the 46-year-old man claimed that he was denied access to the Mexican consulate when arrested, which violated international treaties. They claim that Tamayo could not put together a proper defense without access to help from his home country.
“He will be executed tonight, despite the indisputable fact that his right to consular assistance was violated,” attorneys Sandra L. Babcock and Maurie Levin said in a statement before Tamayo’s lethal injection.
The Mexican government had also been trying to block the execution, saying it would be in violation of international law.
Texas has moved forward with executions under similar circumstances, with the Supreme Court also refusing to stay executions of Mexican nationals in 2008 and 2011. The issue has united Republicans and Democrats alike, with both Pres. Obama and Pres. George W. Bush urging Texas to grant Tamayo and other foreign nationals on death row new hearings.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also argued that going forward with the execution could hurt America’s foreign relations.
“I want to be clear: I have no reason to doubt the facts of Mr. Tamayo’s conviction, and as a former prosecutor, I have no sympathy for anyone who would murder a police officer,” Kerry wrote. “This is a process issue I am raising because it could impact the way American citizens are treated in other countries.”
The execution of Edgar Tamayo Arias marks the first this year in Texas and the 509th since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.