Death row murderer did not get to choose a lavish final meal

Dominic Smithers

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Death row murderer did not get to choose a lavish final meal

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/PA/Chuck Berman/Zuma Press

John Henry Ramirez was executed this week over 10 years after being convicted of murder, but unlike most death row inmates, he was not granted his final meal.

The 38-year-old was killed by lethal injection at Huntsville State Penitentiary in Texas on Wednesday (5 October).

In 2009, he was sentenced to death for the murder of Pablo Castro, who he killed for just $1.25 (£1.11) during a violent robbery in 2004.

It's a common fact that prior to their execution date, prisoners in the US are known to receive a last meal. It's one of the most intriguing aspects of the country's penal system, with people fascinated by what some of world's most notorious criminals choose to eat before being executed.

For example, it's well known that serial killer John Wayne Gacy ate a bucket of KFC chicken, 12 fried prawns, a pound of strawberries, French fries and a Diet Coke.

John Henry Ramirez received the death penalty for a crime he committed back in 2004. Credit: PA/Texas Department of Criminal Justice
John Henry Ramirez received the death penalty for a crime he committed back in 2004. Credit: PA/Texas Department of Criminal Justice

While Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, requested two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

But Ramirez, however, was not afforded the same right.

Rules on last meals vary from state to state, and in Texas, inmates are not allowed to choose a lavish final meal.

Instead, they eat whatever is on the regular prison menu.

This is due to former prisoner Lawrence Russell Brewer, a white supremacist murderer, who was jailed alongside three other men for killing James Byrd Jr. by dragging him along behind a pick-up truck for three miles along a road.

When his execution date came, he ordered a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, three fajitas, one pound of barbecue and a half loaf of white bread, pizza meat lover's special, one pint of 'homemade vanilla' Blue Bell ice cream, one slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts and three root beers.

However, when it was served to him, he didn't eat a bite, saying he wasn't hungry.

That led to Texas senator John Whitmire ending the 87-year-old tradition, ordering everyone on death row to eat what everyone else ate.

One request Ramirez did get, however, was 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.

Inmates on death row in Texas are not given a lavish last meal. Credit: Norma Jean Gargasz/Alamy
Inmates on death row in Texas are not given a lavish last meal. Credit: Norma Jean Gargasz/Alamy

Before the lethal injection was administered, Ramirez also spoke directly to Castro's family.

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."

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Topics: News, Crime, True crime, US News, Texas, Police

Dominic Smithers
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