Texas prisoner put to death with pastor by his side

Texas prisoner John Ramirez, 38, who was on death row, was killed Wednesday evening by lethal injection at the state prison system’s Huntsville Unit for the 2004 murder of Pablo Castro, a grandfather to 14 and convenience store employee whom Ramirez robbed of $1.25 and stabbed 29 times.

Ramirez was pronounced dead at 6:41 p.m. CT, 14 minutes after the injection of pentobarbital began, with his pastor by his side.

The Rev. Dana Moore of Corpus Christi’s Second Baptist Church, who’d sworn to the high court he needed “to be in physical contact with John Ramirez during the most stressful and difficult time of his life in order to give him comfort,” was with the inmate when he died.

“Human touch has significance and power,” Moore had written in an affidavit in support of Ramirez’s request for the pastor to “lay hands” on him at his execution.

A legal battle between Ramirez and the state of Texas, which tried to disallow the convict from having his pastor present with him in the execution chamber reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which voted 8-1 in favor of Ramirez earlier this year.

Though Ramirez professed faith in Christ in his final days, many were skeptical of the legitimacy of his faith, arguing he was simply causing trouble and delaying his execution which was scheduled for September 8, 2021, in his desire to have his pastor present with him.

Ramirez spoke his final words in the moments leading up to his lethal injection, directed to the family members of the man he murdered as they witnessed his execution.

“I have regret and remorse. This is such a heinous act. I hope this finds you comfort. If this helps you, then I am glad. I hope in some shape or form this helps you find closure.”

“To my wife, my friends, my son, grasshopper, Dana and homies, I love y’all. Just know that I fought a good fight, and I am ready to go. I am ready, Warden.”

After the execution, Pablo Castro’s son, Aaron Castro, issued a statement that said in part: “God is the only Judge, jury, and verdict in the end for all of us. Who are we to hold hate, anger, and vengeance on our mind.”

Texas is among 27 US states that still have capital punishment, with five more executions scheduled through March.


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