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TX Executes Killer With Spiritual Adviser's Hand On His Chest

John Henry Ramirez, a Texas death row inmate whose case redefined the role of spiritual advisers in death chambers. was executed Wednesday, despite the efforts of a district attorney to stop his lethal injection, the Associated Press reports. Ramirez, now 38, was convicted of killing Pablo Castro, 46, in 2004, as he took out trash while working at a convenience store in Corpus Christi. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Ramirez, saying states must accommodate the wishes of death row inmates who want to have their faith leaders pray and touch them during executions. In the execution chamber, his spiritual adviser, Dana Moore, placed his right hand on the inmate’s chest, and held it there for the duration. Moore offered a brief prayer.

After the prayer, Ramirez addressed five of Castro’s relatives as they watched through a window a few feet from him. “I have regret and remorse,” he said.” This is such a heinous act. I hope this finds you comfort. If this helps you, then I am glad. Prosecutors said Ramirez robbed Castro of $1.25 then stabbed him 29 times. Castro’s killing took place during a series of robberies conducted by Ramirez and two women following a three-day drug binge. Ramirez fled to Mexico but was arrested 3½ years later. Ramirez challenged state prison rules that prevented his pastor from touching him and praying aloud during his execution, saying his religious freedom was being violated.


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