Texas inmate who fought prayer, contact rules to be executed

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas dying row inmate whose circumstance clarified the job of spiritual advisers in demise chambers nationwide is scheduled for execution Wednesday, irrespective of attempts by a district lawyer to quit his deadly injection.

John Henry Ramirez, 38, was sentenced to death for killing 46-calendar year-outdated Pablo Castro, a benefit retail store clerk, in 2004. Prosecutors claimed Castro was having the trash out from the retail outlet in Corpus Christi when Ramirez robbed him of $1.25 and stabbed him 29 periods.

Castro’s killing took position for the duration of a series of robberies Ramirez and two females experienced been thieving cash subsequent a a few-working day drug binge. Ramirez fled to Mexico but was arrested 3½ several years afterwards.

Ramirez challenged condition prison guidelines that prevented his pastor from touching him and praying aloud throughout his execution, stating his religious independence was staying violated. That challenge led to his execution staying delayed as properly as the executions of some others.

In March, the U.S. Supreme Courtroom sided with Ramirez, expressing states need to accommodate the needs of death row inmates who want to have their faith leaders pray and contact them throughout their executions.

On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously declined to commute Ramirez’s demise sentence to a lesser penalty. In accordance to his legal professional, Ramirez has fatigued all attainable appeals and no final ask for to the U.S. Supreme Court docket is prepared.

The lead prosecutor at Ramirez’s demo in 2008, Mark Skurka, said it was unfair that Ramirez would have a person praying over him as he dies when Castro did not have the same chance.

“It has been a long time coming, but Pablo Castro will possibly lastly get the justice that his family has sought for so very long, inspite of the lawful delays,” claimed Skurka, who afterwards served as Nueces County district attorney ahead of retiring.

Ramirez’s legal professional, Seth Kretzer, mentioned even though he feels empathy for Castro’s family members, his client’s problem was about preserving religious freedoms for all. Ramirez was not asking for a thing new but something that has been aspect of jurisprudence throughout history, Kretzer mentioned. He explained even Nazi war criminals had been provided ministers right before their executions after Earth War II.

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“That was not a reflection on some favor we have been carrying out for the Nazis,” Kretzer mentioned. “Providing spiritual administration at the time of death is a reflection of the relative ethical power of the captors.”

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

Ramirez’s case took one more convert in April when present Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez questioned a decide to withdraw the death warrant and hold off the execution, saying it experienced been requested by slip-up. Gonzalez said he considers the loss of life penalty “unethical.”

Through a just about 20-moment Facebook stay video, Gonzalez said he believes the death penalty is one particular of the “many matters erroneous with our justice method.” Gonzalez said he would not search for the demise penalty while he continues to be in office environment.

He did not return a cellphone get in touch with or e-mail seeking comment.

Also in April, 4 of Castro’s little ones filed a motion inquiring that Ramirez’s execution get be remaining in area.

“I want my father to last but not least have his justice as very well as the peace to ultimately transfer on with my lifestyle and let this nightmare be more than,” Fernando Castro, 1 of his sons, mentioned in the motion.

In June, a choose declined Gonzalez’ request to withdraw Wednesday’s execution date. Last month, the Texas Courtroom of Prison Appeals declined to even contemplate the request.

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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