USA | Parkland Case Challenges Us All to Figure Out What a Mass Murderer Deserves

The ongoing sentencing trial of Nikolas Cruz, the 23-year-old Florida man who in 2018 murdered fourteen students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, will test whether the seven men and five women on the jury hearing his case can hate the sin but muster the courage to spare the life of the sinner. That is exactly what his defense team is asking them to do as they sit in judgment of the person who perpetrated one of this country’s most brutal mass murders. Like many death penalty defense lawyers before them, Cruz’s lawyers, to their credit, have not downplayed the gravity of the horrors their client inflicted in Parkland, Florida. Instead, during the sentencing trial, or what the journalist Dahlia Lithwick once called a “trial of the heart,” they have focused their attention on who Cruz is and the factors that shaped his life. As the Supreme Court said more than fifty years ago, in capital cases those who impose the sentence must consider “

Texas | Death row inmate John Ramirez files for stay of execution

AUSTIN — Texas death row inmate John Henry Ramirez filed a stay of execution last week following action by the Nueces County District Attorney, who opposes the death penalty.

Ramirez is schedule to be killed Oct. 5 for the 2004 robbery-murder of a convenience store clerk in Corpus Christi.

Ramirez was previously scheduled for execution last year when the U.S. Supreme Court hit pause at the last minute in order to hear oral arguments in his religious rights claims. 

At that time, Ramirez’s attorney claimed that his religious rights were violated when the TDCJ did not allow his spiritual adviser to pray aloud and lay hands on him during his execution. Ultimately, SCOTUS ruled in Ramirez’s favor, allowing his execution to be rescheduled.

A death warrant was issued by a Nueces County sheriff, but days later, Gonzalez filed a motion to withdraw the warrant, taking Ramirez off death row completely, citing that the warrant was issued without his permission and that he is ultimately against capital punishment.

"(I have) the firm belief that the death penalty is unethical and should not be imposed on Mr. Ramirez or any other person while (I occupy this) office," Gonzalez previously said.

Even so, a trial court denied Gonzalez’s request and the Oct. 5 date remained in place.

Now, Ramirez’s attorneys are hoping to overturn that court ruling, stating that “no execution case in Texas history has seen a state district judge overrule a joint motion to withdraw an execution date.”

“The elected District Attorney of Nueces County does not want this execution to proceed. In Texas, the D.A. is the chief law enforcement officer of the district,” Ramirez’s attorney Seth Kretzer told CNHI News. 

“The Court of Criminal Appeals should grant mandamus and send this back for consideration in the correct legal paradigm.” 

Prosecutors said Ramirez, 38, stabbed Pablo Castro 29 times while on a robbery spree in search of drug money. He then left for Mexico for three years before he was arrested. 

Ramirez was sentenced to death in 2008. If completed, he will be executed at the Huntsville Unit by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Four of Castro's children filed a motion asking that Ramirez's execution be left as is "ending an ordeal that has denied peace and closure to Pablo Castro's children for nearly twenty years."

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Source: itemonline.com, Staff, September 20, 2022

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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