3:42 PM PDT, August 18, 2021
A Texas death-row inmate, only a few weeks away from being put to death, has sued state prison officials after they denied his request to have his pastor be present during his execution and lay his hands on him as he dies, according to a published report.
John Henry Ramirez, 37, is scheduled for lethal injection in the Texas death chamber on Sept. 8, officials said.
In the federal lawsuit that was filed Tuesday in Corpus Christi, Ramirez attorney’s asked a federal judge to allow Second Baptist Church Pastor Dana Moore to accompany him in the Texas execution chamber and lay hands on Ramirez as he dies, CBS News reported.
The lawsuit said that Moore has been a spiritual advisor to Ramirez for the last five years, the news outlet said.
Jeremy Desel, director of communications at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), which operates the Texas state prison system, said he was unable to speak on Ramirez’s specific case, but told Inside Edition Digital those going to the execution chamber are allowed to have approved persons with them there.
“The inmate is allowed to choose a TDCJ chaplain or an approved personal spiritual advisor to be present with them in the execution chamber,” Desel said. “If the personal spiritual advisor is chosen, then an officer from the independent Office of Inspector General is also present for security. It is the warden of the Huntsville Unit who is always present in the execution chamber.
Since Ramirez’s incarceration, he has had two stays of execution; when in 2017, he requested a new attorney, and, again in September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report.
Ramirez was convicted of the stabbing death of Pablo Castro, a 45-year-old convenience store worker in Corpus Christi. The killing was over just $1.25, according to authorities.