Mexican inmate Ignacio Gomez, 49, on Texas death row for killing three teens in 1996 dies of cardiac arrest
Ignacio Gomez suffered from mental illness and spent much of his time in jail in the prison psychiatric ward
POLK COUNTY, TEXAS: Ignacio "Nacho" Gomez, a Mexican man convicted of killing three teenagers in El Paso, has died of an apparent cardiac arrest after spending more than two decades on Texas death row.
Officials found the 49-year-old was unresponsive in his cell at Polunsky Unit at around 5.37am on July 21, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman said. He was pronounced dead at Livingston hospital, an East Texan hospital, roughly an hour later.
“His passing ends a long process of difficult litigation,” said El Paso-based attorney Robin Norris, “and, I hope, will serve as closure for everyone concerned.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, Gomez suffered from mental illness and spent much of his time in jail in the prison psychiatric ward. His lawyer said he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and found not competent to be put to death – he didn't have a scheduled execution date.
In November 1996, Gomez was convicted of shooting 16-year-old twin brothers and a 19-year-old. He wrapped a loaded revolver in a white T-shirt and started cruising through his family's neighborhood outside El Paso. He was hoping to hunt down those responsible for vandalizing his mother's house. According to the court records, as he was driving around, he ran into his brothers and brother-in-law and agreed to drive them to the store.
On their way, they passed three teenagers who were walking along the side of the road. One of his brothers identified them as the trio who had broken into their mother's house. Gomez pulled over and a brawl broke out, which escalated into wrestling. A minute later, someone was shot. The shooter then fired twice and told the shot teenagers that no one should mess with his mother.
After the shooting, Gomez and his brothers put the bodies in their truck and drove out to the desert to bury them in a shallow grave. When he was later arrested, Gomez confessed to the shooting and said he was "upset" about what had happened with his mother.
While he was sent on death row in 1998, his case gained notoriety years later when he became one of the Mexican nationals claiming that the US flouted international treaties when handling his case. His defense attorneys claimed that the police never told him he had the right to inform the Mexican consulate of his arrest and request legal assistance from his country, a move that violates the Vienna Conventions on Consular Relations.
The courts ultimately decided that the Vienna Convention can only be enforced between countries and not by American courts in individual criminal cases.