Wednesday, October 26, 2005

October 20. 2005

..."I didn't even have a parking ticket on my record."....

Last Meal: Ramirez had no final meal request.

The skinny: Ramirez was executed for organizing and carrying out a murder-for-hire scheme that culminated with the shotgun slaying of a firefighter who was dating his ex-wife.

More skinny: The victim had been dating Ramirez's ex-wife. Ramirez remained obsessed with his ex-wife some two years after a divorce. Working with accomplice, Ramirez lured the man to a house under the pretense of repair job. The victim had a side job as an appliance repairman. He was handcuffed, taken to a chicken coop, shot twice with a shotgun and then buried on the rural property.

The body was found there more than a week later, after he had been reported missing when he failed to show up for work. An informant told police Ramirez had offered him $1,000 to participate in the killing but that money instead was paid to Edward Bell, who later was arrested in Tyler. Inside Bell's wallet were Ramirez's business card, a hand-drawn map to the home of Ramirez's ex-wife, a description of her vehicle and license plate number, all in Ramirez's handwriting. Also in Bell's vehicle was a pair of jeans covered with the victim's blood.

Bell's girlfriend took detectives to a spot where she said Bell tossed a pair of latex gloves. They found a glove and the keys to the victim's truck. Bell was convicted and received a life prison term. Ramirez got death. Ramirez has maintained his innocence.

Leading up to: "I didn't do this," Ramirez told a reporter in an interview the week before his execution. "I have no idea who did. I didn't even have a parking ticket on my record." Ramirez said that he was seventy miles away at the time of the murder, checking on some property.

Last words and such: "I did not kill your loved one. I wish I could tell you the reason why or give you some kind of solace. You lost someone you love very much, the same as my family and friends are going to lose in a few minutes. I am sure he died unjustly, just like I am. I did not murder him. I did not have anything to do with his death. It's OK. It's all right. I'm not afraid.''

Tom Green County District Attorney Steve Lupton and first assistant Bryan Clayton each said they have no doubt Ramirez deserved his end. ''What amazes me is that someone who's about to meet his maker lies until the very end,'' Clayton said. ''It underscores what a dangerous person he was.''

Factoids: Ramirez was the....

43rd murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
987th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
15th murderer executed in Texas in 2005
351st murderer executed in Texas since 1976

A handful of protesters stood at the end of the block on which the historic Huntsville ''Walls'' unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is located - yellow police tape and a sheriff's deputy barring them from coming closer.

As with all executions performed in Texas, Ramirez was killed in the historic, imposing red-brick building, constructed in 1848.

Texas has seven executions scheduled before the end of 2005.