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Featured Image Credit: BBC
A death row inmate scheduled to be put to death next month has filed a lawsuit against the prison, demanding that a pastor be allowed to 'lay hands' on him during his execution.
John Henry Ramirez, 37, is on death row for the brutal murder of 45-year-old convenience store worker Pablo Castro in 2004.
Ramirez stabbed Castro 29 times during a botched robbery that ended in him and his two co-defendants making off with just $1.25.
He is set to be executed on 8 September, but has filed a suit requesting that a judge allow Pastor Dana Moor to be present in the death chamber with him and lay his hands on Ramirez as he dies by lethal injection, the Daily Mail reports.
The laying of the hands is a symbolic act, in which a religious leader places their hands on a dying person to pass over a spiritual blessing.
The lawsuit claims that denying Ramirez, who is a Protestant, this last request is a violation of his first amendment rights.
Ramirez has been on death row since 2009 - in a 2018 interview with the BBC he said he and his co-defendants had been drinking vodka and taking cocaine and prescription drugs prior to the robbery.
Talking about the murder, he told the BBC: "I had stabbed him in the neck.
"There was like real aggressive gurgling sound. That's what kind of snapped me out of it, and I saw how hurt he was and he was bleeding everywhere. I was just like, 'Oh man. I went too far.'"
Ramirez is a former Marine and he told the BBC his training took over during the incident.
"They teach you to kill a person in the fastest way possible. They teach you to kill shot. That's what we call it, which is a lot of places I ended up hitting Pablo," he said.
"I hit him in the heart. I hit him in the neck. I hit him in the groin. I hit him in the lung."
Following the murder, Ramirez fled to Mexico and remained on the run for four years until he was eventually arrested.
He has previously been granted two stays of execution - one in 2017 so he could find a new lawyer and another in September 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
LADbible has contacted the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for comment.