Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Javier Suarez Medina

Javier Suarez Medina
Javier Suarez Medina
Executed on 14 August 2002

Javier Suarez Medina, 33, was executed by lethal injection on 14 August in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a police officer during a drug deal.

In December 1988, Dallas police officer Lawrence Cadena, 43, arranged to buy some drugs from Hector "Tony" Rodriguez as part of an undercover investigation. He drove to a convenience store parking lot for a pre-arranged meeting. Two other undercover officers parked nearby in another vehicle to observe the transaction. Cadena was met by Rodriguez and two of his associates -- Fernando Fernandez and Jimmy Sanders. Cadena got into Rodriguez's car with Fernandez and discussed the deal. Rodriguez also gave Cadena a sample of cocaine, which Cadena took back to his own car. Rodriguez and Fernandez drove away to get the rest of the drugs, while Cadena waited in his car and Sanders stood nearby. Meanwhile, a pickup truck pulled into the parking lot. Sanders had a short conversation with the occupants of the pickup, then it drove away.

After about fifteen minutes, Rodriguez and Fernandez returned in the car, and the pickup also returned with two occupants. The driver of the pickup, Javier Medina, 19, exited, wearing a trench coat, and approached Cadena's car from the passenger's side. Fernandez, 17, stood at the driver's side. After Cadena unlocked the car, Medina threw a bag of white powder into the car. He then raised a semiautomatic Uzi machine gun and shot at Cadena eight times. He then slammed the passenger door shut, ran to the driver's side, opened the door, and raised his weapon again. One of the other undercover officers fired four shots at Medina, wounding him. Fernandez then reached over Cadena's body and ripped open his shirt and pants, presumably looking for the drug money. The third officer fired one shot at Fernandez and wounded him. At this point, the second officer heard shots from behind him. He turned and saw Rodriguez attempting to drive away from the scene. He fired two shots and fatally wounded Rodriguez. Medina and Fernandez were arrested. The other occupant of the pickup truck, who was not identified, drove away and abandoned the stolen truck less than a mile away. He and Jimmy Sanders were arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance. No information was available regarding the disposition of their cases.

The story of Lawrence Cadena's death was made into a 1990 TV movie, "In the Line of Duty."

Medina was taken to the hospital for treatment of his wounds. While at the hospital, he gave a tape-recorded confession. He said that he agreed to deliver $4,000 worth of cocaine for Tony Rodriguez and that he was given an overcoat and an Uzi "in case anything happened." He said that the plan was to make the drug deal, then follow the buyer until he stopped, shoot him, and take back the drugs. He said that he didn't know Cadena was a police officer. "I thought he was just a ...regular drug dealer," he said. "He didn't have no sign for me to know that he was a cop."

A forensic chemist tested the white powder that was in the bag Medina threw into Cadena's car. He testified that the substance was not cocaine nor any other controlled substance. He also analyzed the sample that Rodriguez gave Cadena. It tested to be 87 percent pure cocaine.

Medina had no prior felony convictions, but he had three previous arrests, including one for aggravated robbery.

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