Ramiro Gonzales Oklahoma Execution

ramiro gonzales execution
ramiro gonzales

Ramiro Gonzales was executed by the State of Texas for the sexual assault and murder of Bridget Townsend

According to court documents Ramiro Gonzales would go to the home of his drug dealer in order to rob him of his drugs and money. However when he arrived at the residence he would be surprised by eighteen year old Bridget Townsend, the girlfriend of the drug dealer

Ramiro Gonzales would sexually assault and murder Bridget Townsend before robbing the home and fleeing

Ramiro Gonzales would be arrested on another sexual assault charge and when he was in custody would admit to the murder of Bridget Townsend and lead police to her body

Ramiro Gonzales would be convicted and sentenced to death

Ramiro Gonzales would be executed on June 26 2024 by lethal injection

Ramiro Gonzales Execution

Texas executed Ramiro Gonzales by lethal injection on Wednesday for a 2001 murder, the state Department of Criminal Justice said, following unsuccessful appeals to the US Supreme Court that argued, in part, he should have been ineligible for the death penalty under state law because he is no longer dangerous.

Gonzales, 41, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2006 for the sexual assault and killing of 18-year-old Bridget Townsend, court records show. His execution was the first of two – the other in Oklahoma – scheduled this week in the United States.

Gonzales was pronounced dead at 6:50 p.m., the state criminal justice department said.

The department provided Gonzales’ last statement before he was executed, in which he repeatedly apologized to the Townsend family and said he “never stopped praying” for their forgiveness: “I can’t put into words the pain I have caused y’all, the hurt what I took away that I cannot give back.”

“I hope this apology is enough. I lived the rest of this life for you guys to the best of my ability for restitution, restoration, taking responsibility,” Gonzales said. “I never stopped praying that you would forgive me and that one day I would have this opportunity to apologize.”

During the penalty phase of Gonzales’ trial, jurors were required to find, as they are in all capital cases in Texas, a “probability” Gonzales would continue to “commit criminal acts of violence.” Without this determination, capital defendants in the Lone Star State are not eligible for the death penalty, per state law.

In their appeals to the Supreme Court, Gonzales’ attorneys said his track record these last 18 years shows he is not dangerous, pointing to his commitment to his Christian faith, ministry to others behind bars and his unsuccessful attempts to donate a kidney to a stranger in need.

Additionally, they said the evidence relied upon to make the finding of future dangerousness was false: An expert witness who diagnosed the inmate with antisocial personality disorder relied on recidivism data later found to be incorrect, and he has since evaluated Gonzales and walked back his testimony.

In a pair of brief orders Wednesday, the US Supreme Court gave no comment in its denial of Gonzales’ requests. There were no noted dissents.

Gonzales’ attorneys, Thea Posel and Raoul Schonemann, said in a statement Monday: “Ramiro not only has disproven the jury’s prediction – he has never committed a single act or threat of violence since he was sentenced to death in 2006 – but in fact actively contributes to prison society in exceptional ways. He should not be executed.”

The state of Texas had also opposed Gonzales’ appeals, arguing in part his team had misconstrued the eligibility requirement and contending the question of whether Gonzales would continue to be a threat is not limited to the inmate’s behavior on death row.

Even when his behavior post-conviction is taken into account, “there’s undoubtedly sufficient evidence to uphold the finding of future dangerousness,” attorneys for the state wrote, pointing to the subsequent kidnapping and rape of another woman and a litany of transgressions he committed while in jail.

“Even if a jury could somehow consider events that had not happened yet, i.e., Gonzales’s behavior on death row, the jury could still have rationally believed Gonzales would be a danger in the future,” they said.

On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles declined to recommend clemency in a 7-0 vote. Without that recommendation, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is limited by state law to issuing Gonzales a one-time 30-day reprieve.

CNN has reached out to the Medina County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case, and members of Townsend’s family for comment.

In his final statement before execution, Gonzales also thanked his family and friends, along with two officials with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for “the opportunity to become responsible, to learn accountability and to make good.”

Gonzales murdered Townsend in January 2001, after he called the home of his drug supplier, her boyfriend, in search of drugs, according to a 2009 Texas appeals court opinion affirming the inmate’s conviction and death sentence.

When Townsend told Gonzales her boyfriend wasn’t home, he went to the house in search of drugs. He stole money, then kidnapped Townsend, tying her hands and feet before driving her to a location near his family’s ranch, the opinion states. There, he raped and fatally shot her, it says.

The case went unsolved for 18 months. Then, while sitting in jail after pleading guilty to the rape of another woman, Gonzales confessed to Townsend’s killing and led authorities to her body.

Gonzales’ execution was the nation’s eighth this year, with the ninth slated for Thursday in Oklahoma, according to data from the Death Penalty Information Center, a non-profit organization that tracks capital punishment in the US and has in the past been critical of the way it’s administered.

Oklahoma intends to execute Richard Rojem for the 1984 kidnapping, rape and murder of his 7-year-old stepdaughter, Layla Cummings, court records show. The state’s parole board voted last week against recommending clemency for Rojem, who claims he is innocent, according to CNN affiliate KOCO.

Rojem, like Gonzales, would be the second person executed in their respective states so far in 2024, according to the center’s data. By this time last year, 13 inmates had been put to death in the US, the data shows.

https://www.cnn.com/2024/06/26/us/texas-death-row-ramiro-gonzales/index.html

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