A Texas death row inmate who is scheduled to die by lethal injection later this month is attempting to do something good as penance for his crime.
Ramiro Gonzales is scheduled to receive a lethal injection on July 13 after fatally shooting 18-year-old Bridget Townsend, a southwest Texas woman whose remains were found nearly two years after she vanished in 2001, Fox News reports.
The report adds:
In a letter sent Wednesday, Gonzales’ lawyers, Thea Posel and Raoul Schonemann, asked Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to grant a 30-day reprieve for the inmate to be considered a living donor “to someone who is in urgent need of a kidney transplant.”
His attorneys have made a separate request to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for a 180-day reprieve related to the kidney donation.
In their request to Abbott, Gonzales’ attorneys included a letter from Cantor Michael Zoosman, an ordained Jewish clergyman from Maryland who has been corresponding with Gonzales.
“There has been no doubt in my mind that Ramiro’s desire to be an altruistic kidney donor is not motivated by a last-minute attempt to stop or delay his execution,” Zoosman noted.
“I will go to my grave believing in my heart that this is something that Ramiro wants to do to help make his soul right with his God,” Zoosman wrote.
Lawyers for Gonzales say he’s already been determined to be an “excellent candidate” for organ donations after he being evaluated by a transplant team at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Gavelston.
There, the team found Gonzales has a rare blood type, meaning his donation could benefit someone who might have difficulty finding a match.
“Virtually all that remains is the surgery to remove Ramiro’s kidney. UTMB has confirmed that the procedure could be completed within a month,” Posel and Schonemann wrote to Abbott.
Fox News went on to report that according to Texas Department of Criminal Justice policies, inmates are permitted to make tissue and organ donations.
“Agency spokeswoman Amanda Hernandez said Gonzales was deemed ineligible after making a request to be a donor earlier this year. She did not give a reason, but Gonzales’ lawyers said in their letter that the agency objected because of the pending execution date,” Fox News reported.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is set to vote July 11 on Gonzales’ request to that agency.
“Gonzales’ request to delay his execution for an organ donation is rare among death row inmates in the U.S., Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said Friday” Fox News reported.