Executed in Texas a Latino who asked to be with a pastor while he died

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A Texas inmate at the center of a legal battle over the religious rights of convicted prisoners in the United States was executed Wednesday for the 2004 stabbing death of a convenience store clerk.

John Henry Ramirez was pronounced dead at 6:41 p.m. Central Time on the execution chamber of the state in Huntsville, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said in a written statement.

RamĂ­rez won through the Supreme Court of the United States the right to have his Christian pastor lay hands on him and pray aloud as he died for lethal injection. It was not immediately clear if that happened.

Ramirez, 38, was sentenced to death for fatally stabbing Pablo Castro in Corpus Christi during a 2004 robbery that netted him $1.25.

RamĂ­rez in his last words said that he had "repentance and remorse" for his actions and told the Castro family that he hoped that their execution It will help them find closure.

The execution took place seven months after the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of RamĂ­rez in his case against the Texas statewho refused his request for pastoral touch and prayer as he dies.

The case focused on religious protections under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and a 2000 federal law that requires officials to show a compelling interest to deny a request based on religion. prisoner and do so using the least restrictive means.

Texas argued that the presence of a pastor in the execution chamber could compromise security. The state also said that strangers touching inmates could interrupt the intravenous lines and that the prayers Audible signals could interfere with officials' ability to monitor for signs of distress. (rts)

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