Texas death row prisoner seeks pastoral contact at execution


Houston (AP) —When a Texas death row prisoner is scheduled to be executed for killing a convenience store worker in a robbery that earned $ 1.25 more than 17 years ago, when his pastor died in lethal injection. I’m asking him to allow him to put his hand.

The request by John Henry Ramirez, 37, is the latest clash between Texas death row prisoners and prison officials. Other states Beyond the existence of Spiritual Advisor In the death room.

Ramirez was accused of killing 46-year-old Pablo Castro in 2004 when he took garbage out of a Corpus Christi convenience store. Prosecutors say Ramirez stabbed Castro 29 times during a series of robbery. In the robbery, a prisoner and two women sought money after three days of drug trafficking. Ramirez fled to Mexico, but was arrested three and a half years later. He will be executed in Huntsville State Prison Wednesday night.

The request to have Ramirez’s spiritual adviser touch him and have him speak out in prayer when he is executed, direct contact poses a safety risk, and voice prayer can be confusing. It was dismissed by the Texas prison authorities who claimed to be.

A federal judge in Houston and the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals have denied Ramirez’s request to continue his enforcement on this matter. The appeal is pending in the United States Supreme Court.

April, Texas prison system Reversal NS 2 year ban About allowing a spiritual adviser in the Death Room.The ban came after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019 Stopped execution Of another Texas prisoner who claimed that his religious freedom had been violated because his Buddhist spiritual adviser was not allowed to accompany him.

Texas previously allowed state-owned clergy to take prisoners to their rooms, but the prison staff included only Christian and Islamic clergy. The new policy will allow the prisoner’s approved mental adviser to be in the room, but the two will not be able to contact and will not be allowed to pray for voice during execution.

Ramirez’s lawyer, Seth Cretzer, claimed that the Texas Criminal Justice Department violated the First Amendment’s right to practice the religion of convict on death row. He called the ban on voice prayer a spiritual “gag order.”

“It is hostile to religion and denies the religious movement at the exact moment when it is most needed: when someone is transitioning from this life to the next,” Kretzer said in a court document. I said in.

Ramirez’s spiritual adviser for the past four years, Dana Moore, said the request was about getting prisoners to practice his Christian faith and treating him “with some dignity.”

Moore, pastor of Corpus Christi’s Second Baptist Church, said: “He’s paying for his crimes. I think it’s a question that comes up, but isn’t that enough?”

However, Ramirez’s 2008 trial chief prosecutor, Mark Skulka, believes that death row prisoners should have a mental adviser at the time of execution, but there must be restrictions based on safety concerns. Said.

“Pablo Castro couldn’t pray on him because this guy stabbed him 29 times. Pablo Castro gets something nice like a priest attends. “I couldn’t,” said Scarka, who is now retired after serving as a lawyer in the Nueces County district.

Castro, who had nine children, worked in a convenience store for over a decade when he was killed.

“He was a nice person. He would help his neighbors. Everyone liked him,” Scarka said.

Two women who joined the robbery and were convicted of less charges remain in prison.

If Ramirez is executed, he will be the third convict on death row in Texas and the sixth in the United States this year.


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