Death Row prisoner executed after stabbing dad-of-nine 29 times to steal £1.10

A man given the death sentence for murdering a supermarket worker by stabbing him 29 times has been executed by lethal injection.

Death Row prisoner John Henry Ramirez, 38, was killed in the US city of Huntsville, Texas, at 6.41pm (12.41am UK time) having been found guilty of murdering dad-of-nine Pablo Castro 18 years ago in Corpus Christi.

As a last request, Ramirez asked that his Christian pastor lay his hands on him whilst he was being put to death, the Daily Mirror reports.

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He was also heard praying and witnesses were later seen leaving the Texas State Penitentiary.

Pastor Dana Moore had regularly driven about 300 miles to pray in prison with Ramirez, who had been a member of the Second Baptist Church in Corpus Christi.

The execution took place seven months after the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in Ramirez's favour at the end of his case against the state of Texas, which had rejected his request for pastoral touch and prayer while he died.

It was a decision that appeared to bolster the religious rights of condemned inmates.

His case centred on religious protections under the US Constitution's First Amendment and a 2000 federal law that requires officials to show a compelling interest to deny a prisoner's religious-based request and to do so using the least restrictive means.

Texas defended its position by emphasising its need to maintain security during the execution.

Outsiders touching inmates in the execution chamber could inadvertently disrupt intravenous lines and audible prayer could interfere with officials' ability to monitor for signs of distress, the state said.

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Ramirez was sentenced to death in 2008 for the murder of Castro, who worked nights at a convenience store in the southern Texas city of Corpus Christi.

Seeking money to buy drugs, he stabbed Castro 29 times and made off with $1.25 (£1.10) on July 19, 2004, prosecutors said.

The store worker was taking rubbish out when he was stabbed as Ramirez went on a series of robberies during a three-day drug binge.

He initially fled to Mexico and was later arrested nearly three-and-a-half years later.

According to the prisoner's solicitor, he had tried all possible appeals and a final request to the US Supreme Court was rejected.


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