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7th Texas execution delayed as attorneys cite pandemic

August 17, 2020 GMT

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — A seventh scheduled execution of a Texas death row inmate has been delayed after his attorneys raised concerns over the state’s coronavirus outbreak.

John Henry Ramirez, 36, had been set for a Sept. 9 execution for the 2004 stabbing death of Pablo Castro, a 45-year-old Corpus Christi convenience store worker. Authorities say Castro was stabbed after a robbery that netted just $1.25.

But state District Judge Bobby Galvan issued an oral order Friday that withdrew the death warrant, said Seth Kretzer, one of Ramirez’s attorneys.

In his motion asking for the delay, Kretzer had cited the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for the delay, arguing that putting people together in the execution chamber could pose a health risk.

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According to trial testimony, Castro was killed when Ramirez and two women hatched a plan to rob people after running out of money following a three-day drug binge.

Six other Texas executions scheduled earlier this year were postponed by the courts because of the outbreak. Two others were delayed over different issues.

The first execution in the state following a five-month delay due to the pandemic was held last month. The next execution in Texas is set for Sept. 30.