AUSTIN — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied a stay of execution for death row inmate John Henry Ramirez on Thursday without further explanation.
Ramirez, who is schedule to be killed Oct. 5, was sentenced to death for the 2004 robbery-murder of a convenience store clerk in Corpus Christi.
Ramirez’s attorneys were hoping to receive a stay of execution after Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez issued his own request in May, stating then that a death warrant was issued without his permission. Gonzalez added that he is ultimately against capital punishment, deeming it “unethical.”
Gonzalez’s request was later denied by a state district judge. Gonzalez did not respond to a request for comment on the recent ruling.
Ramirez’s case rose to national attention last year when he received a last-minute stay by the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to hear his religious rights claims.
At that time, Ramirez’s attorney claimed that his religious rights were violated when the Texas Department of Criminal Justice did not allow his spiritual adviser to pray aloud and lay hands on him during his execution. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled in Ramirez’s favor, allowing his execution to be rescheduled.
“Mr. Ramirez’s religious liberties case in the Supreme Court touched some small part of America’s soul. The most conservative regional court of appeals in America was reversed 8-1 by the most conservative Supreme Court in American history,” Ramirez’s attorney Seth Kretzer said. “While perhaps D.A. Gonzalez should have more quickly informed his staff as to his position, a new day is dawning in America where elected district attorneys will stand up to execution errors extrapolated from a prior generation.”
Prosecutors said Ramirez, 38, stabbed Pablo Castro 29 times while on a robbery spree in search of drug money. He then left for Mexico for three years before he was arrested. Ramirez was sentenced to death in 2008.
He is scheduled to be executed at the Huntsville Unit.