Texas: John Henry Ramirez executed – against the will of the responsible prosecutor
On Wednesday night in Huntsville, Texas, 38-year-old John Henry Ramirez was executed with a lethal injection, an overdose of pentobarbital.
He was sentenced to death for the 2004 robbery-murder of a 46-year-old grocery store clerk. Ramirez found little more than a dollar on him and stabbed his victim 29 times.
He already had an execution date set for September 2021 and received a last-minute stay then because Texas denied him the spiritual counsel he wanted. This time, a pastor of his choice was present, allowed to pray aloud and touch him, and not required to be an employee of the Texas Department of Corrections.
In his final words to his victim’s relatives, Ramirez expressed his remorse: “I have remorse and regret, this is such a heinous act. I hope this is a comfort to you. If it helps you, then I am glad. I hope it helps you in some way to find closure.”
Ramirez’s execution was carried out despite the objection of the district attorney in charge of the case, who had sought to stop the execution.
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Ramirez’s right to have a chaplain of his choice present, an employee of Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez’s office had requested a new execution date without the knowledge of his boss, even though he opposes the death penalty on ethical grounds. Gonzales unsuccessfully requested that the execution date he did not request be rescinded, and Ramirez’s attorneys did not file any final appeals that could have prevented the death sentence from being carried out.