A man sentenced to death in Texas has asked that his execution, scheduled for July 13, be postponed so he can donate a kidney. The information is from the Associated Press and the G1.
The man, Ramiro Gonzales, has a lethal injection marked as a sentence for killing a woman, Bridget Townsend, in 2001. At the time, Townsend was 18, and was missing for nearly two years until her remains were found.
Lawyers for Gonzales have asked Texas Governor Republican Greg Abbott to grant a 30-day suspension of the execution so that the inmate can be considered a living donor “for someone who urgently needs a kidney transplant.”
According to the letter, he was considered an “excellent candidate” for donation after being evaluated by the transplant team at the University of Texas.
The assessment found that Gonzales has a rare blood type – meaning his donation could benefit someone struggling to find a compatible donor.
According to the lawyers, the medical team that evaluated Gonzales confirmed that the procedure can be completed within a month. The governor’s office did not respond to the Associated Press about the request until the latest update.
In a separate order, the lawyers also asked the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to suspend the sentence for 180 days because of the donation; the request must be voted on on the 11th.
In addition to that request, Gonzales’ lawyers also made a second request – that the council change his death sentence to another sentence.
They also asked that the execution not go ahead if the detainee’s spiritual adviser could not hold his hand and place another hand on his heart during the execution of the sentence. A two-day federal trial on that order is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
The request for a stay of execution to make an organ donation is rare among death row inmates in the United States, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.
In 1995, a man convicted of murder in the state of Delaware, Steven Shelton, donated a kidney to his mother. In 2013, Ronald Phillips’ execution in Ohio was delayed so that his request to donate a kidney to his mother could be reviewed. Phillips’ request was denied and he was executed in 2017.