Man on Death Row Asks Texas Governor for Delay of Execution So He Can Donate Kidney

The Texas inmate's latest request comes amid a larger ongoing push from advocates for the death penalty to be fully made a relic of a bygone era.

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A Texas man on death row for the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old woman is asking for a delay of his scheduled execution to facilitate his wish to donate a kidney.

Per a recent report from the Associated Press, lawyers representing 39-year-old Ramiro Gonzales—whose trial in the 2001 killing of Bridget Townsend took place in 2006—sent a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott asking the Republican to okay a “30-day reprieve” so he could become a living donor. A similar request was also reported to have been sent to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

While the letter and the larger request itself aren’t new (the letter is dated June 29), the issue has received renewed attention this week ahead of a scheduled execution for Wednesday. In the letter, per the AP, Cantor Michael Zoosman—an ordained Jewish clergyman—pushed back against more cynical takes on the request and said he will “go to [his] grave believing” that Gonzales’ effort here marks an attempt from the inmate to “help make his soul right with his God.”

Notably, as the Marshall Project shared in a piece published on Monday, the very same psychiatrist who was instrumental in Gonzales (who was also 18 at the time of the killing) being placed on death row is now convinced he was wrong in his initial assessment. Speaking with the nonprofit journalism outlet, psychiatrist Edward Gripon suggested that Gonzales’ sentence should be changed to life without parole. Gripon also noted the lack of psychopathic tendencies in this case, pointing out how Gonzales “doesn’t try to lie his way out.”

Meanwhile, advocates continue to push for President Biden to do more at the federal level in connection with eliminating death penalties entirely.

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