Texas inmate who fought prayer, contact regulations to be executed

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas loss of life row inmate whose case clarified the part of non secular advisers in death chambers nationwide is scheduled for execution Wednesday, inspite of efforts by a district legal professional to stop his lethal injection.

John Henry Ramirez, 38, was sentenced to dying for killing 46-year-previous Pablo Castro, a advantage store clerk, in 2004. Prosecutors stated Castro was using the trash out from the retail outlet in Corpus Christi when Ramirez robbed him of $1.25 and stabbed him 29 moments.

Castro’s killing took spot all through a series of robberies Ramirez and two ladies had been thieving revenue following a a few-working day drug binge. Ramirez fled to Mexico but was arrested 3 1/2 a long time later.

Ramirez challenged point out jail policies that prevented his pastor from touching him and praying aloud through his execution, saying his spiritual flexibility was remaining violated. That obstacle led to his execution staying delayed as perfectly as the executions of other folks.

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court docket sided with Ramirez, indicating states ought to accommodate the wishes of loss of life row inmates who want to have their faith leaders pray and touch them throughout their executions.

On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously declined to commute Ramirez’s loss of life sentence to a lesser penalty. In accordance to his attorney, Ramirez has fatigued all achievable appeals and no closing ask for to the U.S. Supreme Court is prepared.

The direct prosecutor at Ramirez&#8217s demo in 2008, Mark Skurka, mentioned it was unfair that Ramirez would have an individual praying in excess of him as he dies when Castro did not have the exact same prospect.

“It has been a extended time coming, but Pablo Castro will likely eventually get the justice that his loved ones has sought for so extended, inspite of the authorized delays,” claimed Skurka, who afterwards served as Nueces County district attorney prior to retiring.

Ramirez’s lawyer, Seth Kretzer, explained even though he feels empathy for Castro’s family, his client&#8217s challenge was about shielding religious freedoms for all. Ramirez was not asking for a little something new but a thing that has been element of jurisprudence all over historical past, Kretzer explained. He stated even Nazi war criminals were being offered ministers right before their executions after World War II.

“That was not a reflection on some favor we ended up executing for the Nazis,” Kretzer said. “Providing religious administration at the time of dying is a reflection of the relative ethical energy of the captors.”

Kretzer mentioned Ramirez’s religious adviser, Dana Moore, will also be in a position to keep a Bible in the dying chamber, which hadn’t been permitted in advance of.

Ramirez’s situation took a further convert in April when present Nueces County District Lawyer Mark Gonzalez requested a decide to withdraw the death warrant and hold off the execution, declaring it experienced been asked for by miscalculation. Gonzalez claimed he considers the demise penalty “unethical.”

Through a nearly 20-minute Facebook live movie, Gonzalez reported he thinks the dying penalty is one of the “many matters erroneous with our justice procedure.” Gonzalez stated he would not seek the demise penalty although he continues to be in business office.

He did not return a cellphone simply call or e mail in search of remark.

Also in April, four of Castro’s children submitted a movement inquiring that Ramirez’s execution order be left in position.

“I want my father to at last have his justice as perfectly as the peace to finally go on with my lifestyle and enable this nightmare be in excess of,” Fernando Castro, a single of his sons, mentioned in the movement.

In June, a decide declined Gonzalez’ request to withdraw Wednesday’s execution date. Past month, the Texas Court docket of Legal Appeals declined to even take into consideration the ask for.

If Ramirez is executed, he would be the third inmate place to loss of life this yr in Texas and the 11th in the U.S.


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Juan A. Lozano, The Involved Press

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