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Nueces County District Attorney files motion to withdraw John Henry Ramirez execution date

Posted at 1:03 PM, Apr 14, 2022

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nueces County District Attorney Mark A. Gonzalez has filed a motion to withdraw the order that set the execution date of John Henry Ramirez.

According to Gonzalez's motion, he does not support the death penalty and believes neither Ramirez nor anyone else in his jurisdiction should be subject to it while he is in office.

The motion says the date-setting came about because of an oversight.

"The Assistant District Attorney who most recently moved for an execution date in this cause was not aware of my desire in this matter and did not consult me prior to moving for an execution date," the motion states.

Whether or not Ramirez's October 5 execution date is withdrawn is the decision of the court that originally decided his fate in 2008, 94th District Court Judge Bobby Galvan.

Ramirez's attorney Seth Kretzer believes the judge will withdraw it.

“If the moving party no longer wants that result, it would seem to be very unusual that a judge says, ‘Oh no, you must have it,” he said.

While Gonzalez was not the D.A. when Ramirez was convicted, his office has now sought execution dates for him four times in the past five years.

The previous three were either stayed or withdrawn.

But Gonzalez said in a Facebook Live video Thursday night that, going forward, he would no longer try to have Ramirez executed — or any other convicted capital murderer.

"I’ve, for awhile now, said that I don’t believe in the death penalty," he said. "My office is not going to seek the death penalty anymore. And that’s just the way I feel."

Ramirez is on death row for the 2004 stabbing death of convenience store clerk Pablo Castro during a robbery.

The victim's youngest son, Fernando Castro, saw the October 5 execution date as an opportunity for this family to get justice, and he was disappointed to hear that it now almost certainly won't happen that soon.

Kretzer, who fought and won a case at the United States Supreme Court that will allow Ramirez's pastor to touch him and pray with him in the death chamber, says he has the "greatest empathy" for Castro's family as the wait to see their loved one's killer put to death is likely once again extended.

Gonzalez has two more years on his current term, so it would be 2024 at the earliest — assuming he doesn't run for and win a new term — that the DA's office requests a new execution date for Ramirez.

“I admit that there are some very bad and evil people out there," he said. "But I don’t feel that the government should have that power to put people to death."

This is a developing story. Check back with KRIS 6 News for updates.