KEATING grants another stay for Mexican national

Friday, August 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Gov. Frank Keating granted a 30-day stay of execution Friday for Mexican national Gerado Valdez to allow more time for legal and diplomatic appeals by the Mexican government.

Valdez had been scheduled to be executed Aug. 30. Keating's stay runs from Aug. 29.

``Out of courtesy to the Mexican government and Mr. Valdez's attorneys, the governor has granted their request for more time to pursue certain legal issues,'' said Phil Bacharach, Keating spokesman.

Bacharach said the action ``is absolutely no indication that Governor Keating is reconsidering his earlier decision that the death sentence should be carried out.''

Robert A. Nance, Valdez's Oklahoma attorney, said he was disappointed Keating did not revisit his decision to deny clemency for Valdez.

``I think the Mexican government, through its lawyers, has been in contact with the governor and with the Department of State in Washington. Exactly what they have asked for, other than for Keating to revisit clemency, I don't know,'' Nance said.

A Grady County grand jury convicted Valdez, 41, for the 1989 beating and shooting death of Juan Barron, 26. The victim was beaten and shot twice in the head before his throat was slit and he was burned in a barbecue pit.

Previously, after the intervention of Mexican President Vicente Fox, Keating granted a temporary stay of execution for Valdez to consider arguments that the condemned man had not been allowed to speak with the Mexican consulate after his arrest, as guaranteed in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.

Keating subsequently said he had determined that the treaty article had not prevented Valdez from receiving a fair trial.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, at the request of Attorney General Drew Edmondson, then set the execution date for Valdez.

In his executive order, Keating said the Mexican government had requested additional time to ``review legal and diplomatic alternatives available to them and Mr. Valdez in light of the novel legal issues presented.''

He said he was granting the say because of the ``gravity of the issues'' and the ``complicated questions of international law.''