Death row inmate sends apologetic message to victim's family in final words before execution
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A death row inmate has used his last words to apologise to the family of the man he murdered almost two decades ago.
John Henry Ramirez, 38, was executed via lethal injection on 5 October at the Huntsville state penitentiary, Texas, for murdering Pablo Castro, 46, in a 2004 robbery and stabbing that saw him steal just $1.25 (£1.11).
Despite being sentenced to death back in 2009, Ramirez' execution was repeatedly delayed after he launched an appeal to have a priest present and praying at his execution.
His wish was ultimately granted by the Supreme Court, who ruled that denying the killer a priest would be a violation of his rights under the First Amendment.
Ramirez therefore had spiritual adviser, Dana Moore, present at his execution, who Newsweek reports held a hand over his chest and prayed.
Moore said: "Look upon John with your grace. Grant him peace. Grant all of us peace."
At the end of the prayer, the inmate said: '"Amen."
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice revealed that the killer issued a statement to his victim's family as part of his last words before he was executed.
"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," he said.
"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."
Ramirez also took the opportunity to let his family know how much he loved them and explain that he was ready to die after a 'good fight'.
"To my wife, my friends, my son, grasshopper, Dana and homies, I love y'all," he said. "Just know that I fought a good fight, and I am ready to go. I am ready Warden."
He was administered with a lethal dose of pentobarbital and he was pronounced dead 14 minutes later.
Seth Kretzer, the killer's attorney, told Newsweek: "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.
"While perhaps D.A. Gonzalez should have more quickly informed his staff as to his position that capital punishment is unethical, a new day is dawning in America where elected district attorneys can stand up to execution errors extrapolated from a prior generation."
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