Thursday, October 6, 2022

Texas man executed for 2004 killing of store clerk

The 11th Execution of 2022

John Henry Ramirez, the man accused of killing a Corpus Christi store clerk in 2004, was put to death on October 5, 2022, according to the Associated Press.

He was pronounced dead at 6:41 p.m.

Before he died, he issued a statement.

"I just want to say to the family of Pablo Castro, I appreciate everything that y’all did to try and communicate with me through the Victim’s Advocacy program. I tried to reply back, but there is nothing that I could have said or done that would have helped you.  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."

Castro's son, Aaron, also released a statement quoting Micah 7:18, and added his own thoughts:

"Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy."

"That says a lot. 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. How is a life beautiful and successful, in your own definition, and pure with LOVE and GOD in your heart, mind, body, and soul. Truth is that things have always been in God’s hands. Know how much we allow the hurtful, cold, tragic death and events and people to enter our souls and heart and how we use this to expel even more peace. Love and mindfulness in our lives is up to us. Peace and Love and justice for Pablo G. Castro may his name not be forgotten, and may God have mercy in J.H.R. for it is not up to us. He is receiving his true judgement with our Lord and Savior. The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end. A Life taken away is not to be celebrated but closure can definitely take place."

Ramirez eluded police for 3 1/2 years after killing Castro, and eventually was convicted of killing Pablo Castro, who was working at a Times Market on Baldwin Boulevard, in 2008.

This execution date comes after a series of stays in Ramirez’s favor, including the objections of Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez.

Ramirez’s most recent appeal helped set precedent in the matter of death-row inmates wanting spiritual advisors in the death chamber with them.

The 38-year-old took his most recent appeal all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which decided earlier this year that it would allow Second Baptist Church Pastor Dana Moore pray aloud and lay hands on him during the execution.

"I've pictured myself strapped to that gurney and I picture like what I'm gonna say to his family and what I'm gonna say to my family," Ramirez told 3NEWS in 2017. "And then the warden starts the drug administration and then you start, you start feeling it and it starts taking effect and every time I do that I get 'aww man like anxious my heart starts racing.'"

In an interview with 3NEWS in 2011, he said he is just like anyone else, and admits he made a mistake when he killed Castro.

"I'm not the person they try to portray me to be, you know what I mean?” he said. “I'm just like anyone else. I just messed up. Messed up bad, you know what I mean? And I accept that know what I mean?"

"When I left, Angela was there, she was there during the whole time. She got down on the floor and started going through his pockets and whatever. I guess that's how she got the alleged $1.25 right? I never had nothing to do with that," he said. 

The two women then climbed into the vehicle and left the scene. After a police pursuit that ended in a wooded area on the northside, the women surrendered. Ramirez kept running until someone gave him a ride to a friends home.

"I turn on the tv, the first thing that comes on is breaking news, I don't remember what channel but it was breaking news. All I see is a big picture of myself and it says manhunt. So I was like, "What the hell?" he said. 

Ramirez, now out his drug-induced stupor said the events of the night before started coming back to him.

"I ain't gonna lie to you, I was scared. I didn't know what to do. The only thing coherent thought that I had was run, know what i mean? Run. What else do you do when you're scared? You run," he said. 

Ramirez fled to Brownsville, where he crossed the border and made Matamoros, Mexico, his home for the next three-and-a-half years. He was eventually caught, tried and sentenced to death, after several appeals.

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