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Death row inmate asks for execution delay so he can donate kidney

A Texas inmate on death row has requested a stay of execution so he can donate a kidney.

Ramiro Gonzales, 39, is scheduled to be put to death via lethal injection on July 13 for the murder of a Texas teenager in 2001.

His lawyers appealed to Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday to delay the execution by a month so Gonzales can be considered a living donor “to someone who is in urgent need of a kidney transplant.”

They also asked the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for a six-month reprieve in connection with the requested kidney donation.

Attorneys Thea Posel and Raoul Schonem said a University of Texas transplant team found Gonzales to be an “excellent candidate” for donation due to his rare blood type.

“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.

Governor Greg Abbott was briefed by Ramiro Gonzales’s lawyers to delay the execution by a month.
(Kevin C. Downs for The New York

They also included a letter from Cantor Michael Zoosman, a Jewish clergyman who has been in contact with the inmate.

“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. 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.

While Texas allows inmates to donate organs, a prior request from Gonzales was rejected earlier this year. A Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman did not give an explanation for the decision, but the killer’s lawyers claimed it was because his execution was imminent.

Posel and Schonemann also asked the parole board to commute his death sentence and allow a spiritual adviser to hold his hand and heart during the execution, if it were to go forward.

A federal trial on the latter request was set to begin Tuesday.

Gonzales was convicted of fatally shooting 18-year-old Bridget Townsend when he was 18 Her remains were not found for two years.

The inmate has a seventh-grade education, according to prison records.

The United Network for Organ Sharing, which is federally contracted to run the nation’s transplant system, has voiced concerns about organ donations from death row inmates, including the possibility that the organs could be morally compromised.

With AP wires

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