HUNTSVILLE, Texas — John Henry Ramirez was declared dead by lethal injection at 6:41 p.m. Wednesday.
Ramirez spent nearly 15 years on death row after murdering Corpus Christi convenience store clerk Pablo Castro at a Times Market on Baldwin July 19, 2004.
No cameras were allowed in the execution chamber, but I followed Ramirez’s family and stood inside the viewing gallery during his execution.
“He just fell asleep,” Pablo Castro Junior said during an interview with media after the execution. “I got no joy out of that. I watch people sleep all of the time.”
A peaceful sleep, the Castro family said was unfair compared to how their father spent his last moments, stabbed 29 times by Ramirez.
“It’s not gonna bring my dad back,” Fernando Castro said. “It’s not going to bring our dad back.”
Both of Pablo Castro’s sons said relief wasn’t the word they felt after watching their father’s killer put to death.
“I feel like my dad got his justice but I‘m not happy about the situation,” Fernando Castro said.
The brothers said Ramirez looked at them through the glass window when they first walked in.
After his pastor, Dana Moore, said a prayer as his hand laid on his chest, Ramirez said he was sorry to the Castro family.
“…I have regret and remorse. This is such a heinous act. I hope this finds you comfort. If this helps you, then I’m glad. I hope in some shape or form this helps you find closure,” Ramirez said into a microphone that hung from the ceiling near his head.
“That little last plea, that little ‘sorry’ fell on deaf ears. To me,” Pablo Castro Jr. said.
After Ramirez’s apology, he turned to look at his family and friends.
“To my wife, my friends, my son, my grasshopper, Dana and homes, I love ya’ll,” Ramirez said. Just know that I fought the good fight and I am ready to go. I am ready warden.”
At 6:27 p.m., he was given the lethal injection in his right arm and left hand.
“Don’t fight it John, just go,” was heard in Ramirez’s gallery.
He stayed looking at his family, until his eyes closed.
A friend of Ramirez’s began to sing “Amazing Grace” from inside the gallery.
At 6:40 p.m. a doctor checked Ramirez’s eyes, checked for a pulse on his neck, put a stethoscope to his lungs and declared him dead a minute later.
“Whether he believes in God or whoever he was going to pray to, it was just empty words, Castro said.”
Castro’s family said, although it was the opposite of the kind of death their father received from Ramirez, it was justice.
“My dad didn’t get his justice until today and it shouldn’t have lasted this long,” Fernando said. “I think the system is far too slow.”
Fernando said his family will now look forward.
“His legacy will continue through us as it has,” Fernando said. “Our father has never truly died because he lives through us he will live forever.”