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TCADP June 2024 Newsletter: Sharing Ramiro’s story

In this edition:

Scheduled executions: Ramiro Gonzales faces execution on June 26, 2024; share his story on social media, watch his clemency video, and sign the petition to save his life

In case you missed it: Amnesty International report on the death penalty worldwide; widespread support for Robert Roberson; Noose to Needle webinar recording

Featured events: Community & Coffee and Juneteenth activities in Dallas; summer lunch series in Austin; Justice & Java in Houston; TCADP book group in July

Are you a Partner for Justice? Set up a recurring donation to TCADP today!

Quote of the month

“For 20 years, I have thought that something went very wrong in Roberson’s case and feared that justice was not served. If there is no movement to correct this injustice, I fear myself and others will carry our guilt eternally.”

– Brian Wharton, “Retired detective: We got it wrong in Robert Roberson’s death penalty case,” Dallas Morning News, May 23, 2024

Scheduled executions

It has been three months since Texas last carried out an execution, but now the State has four executions scheduled over the next four months. 

On June 26, 2024, Ramiro Gonzales is set to be put to death for the 2001 kidnapping, rape, and murder of Bridget Townsend in Medina County. These crimes occurred barely two months after Ramiro’s 18th birthday while he was in the throes of a serious cocaine addiction rooted in childhood trauma and neglect. (The U.S. Supreme Court held in 2005 that the Constitution bars imposition of the death penalty on anyone under the age of 18.) 

Bridget’s murder went unsolved for a year and a half until Ramiro suddenly confessed while awaiting transfer to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice after pleading guilty and being sentenced to life imprisonment for an unrelated offense. During his trial, Ramiro’s court-appointed attorneys failed to present mitigating evidence related to his abusive upbringing, which would have provided context for his impulsive behavior and acts of violence.

Since the moment he confessed, Ramiro has held himself accountable and sought to atone for the harm he has caused. In the almost two decades he has spent on death row, he has devoted himself to self-improvement, contemplation, and prayer. Ramiro is devoutly religious and shares his practice with spiritual advisors and with others on death row. 

Image source: Elisabetta Diorio

Ramiro also faced execution two years ago, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay and remanded his claim about false testimony by the State’s trial expert regarding recidivism rates. That same expert re-evaluated him years after the trial and concluded that Ramiro does not present a danger to anyone. Several guards on death row have attested to his compliant behavior and positive impact on those around him. 

Ramiro seeks a clemency recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Sign the petition, watch his clemency video, and share Ramiro’s story of redemption on social media using the hashtag #SaveRamiro.


Texas has another execution set for July 16, 2024. It is the fifth execution date Ruben Gutierrez has faced since 2018. Most recently, he came within an hour of being put to death on June 16, 2020, before the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay. Over the 25 years Gutierrez has spent on death row, he has consistently maintained he did not kill Escolastica Harrison. TCADP will provide more information on his case later this month.

To date this year, Texas has put one person—Ivan Cantu—to death. (In 2023, Texas executed eight men.) Executions also have occurred this year in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and Oklahoma; Missouri and Oklahoma have executions set in June, as well. 

In case you missed it

Amnesty International documents increase in executions worldwide in 2023
According to a new report from Amnesty International, at least 1,153 executions took place in 2023, marking an increase of more than 30% from 2022 and the highest figure recorded since 2015. This total does not include the thousands of executions believed to have been carried out in China.

Amnesty recorded executions in 16 countries. Of these, the five countries with the highest number of executions last year were China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and the United States. Iran alone accounted for 74% of all recorded executions, while Saudi Arabia accounted for 15%. Conversely, 112 countries are fully abolitionist and 144 in total have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

Widespread support for Robert Roberson
As seen in our quote of the month, Brian Wharton, the lead detective who investigated Robert Roberson’s case and testified against him, now believes Roberson is innocence. His case has attracted widespread support from eminent scientists, medical doctors, faith leaders, innocence groups, former federal judges, and best-selling novelist John Grisham.

In a commentary piece published last month by the Austin American-Statesman, Keith Findley, founder of the Center for Integrity in Forensic Sciences, writes that the case “was built on a false science sandcastle” that has since been washed away. Findley warns that Roberson could become the first person in the United States to be executed due to the discredited Shaken Baby Hypothesis if the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals does not intervene.

Robert Roberson would appreciate YOUR support, as well. As we approach Father’s Day, send him a note of encouragement through this petition sponsored by the Innocence Project.

Noose to Needle: The legacy of race and the death penalty in Texas 
On May 30, 2024, TCADP co-hosted an important conversation about the intersection of race and the death penalty, featuring our Deputy Director Tiara Cooper, Estelle Hebron-Jones, Director of Special Projects for Texas Defender Service, and Furonda Brasfield, Director of the Noose to Needle Project. Thanks to everyone who joined us to learn about persistent and ongoing racial disparities in Texas’s use of the death penalty. Watch a recording of the webinar on YouTube.

Featured events

Community & Coffee in Dallas
Join TCADP supporters in DFW on Thursday, June 6, 2024, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Union Coffee (3705 Cedar Springs Rd, Dallas, TX 75219). Deputy Director Tiara Cooper will hold space for anyone interested in learning more about TCADP and connecting with our efforts and upcoming events. To RSVP, email

Summer lunch series in Austin
On Wednesday, June 12, 2024, TCADP will launch a summer lunch series for supporters in the Austin area. These gatherings will take place at the TCADP office in North Austin and will feature a special guest speaker. For our first luncheon, we are thrilled to host Adrián de la Rosa, who serves as a Capital Defense Investigator at the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Texas – Capital Habeas Unit. Lunch will be provided; pre-registration is required. Join us from 12:00 to 1:00 PM for an hour of education and motivation.

Juneteenth activities
TCADP will have an information table at the 2024 Juneteenth 4K Walk & Festival in Dallas on Saturday, June 15, 2024, from 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM. The event is hosted by the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center (2922 MLK Boulevard; Dallas 75215). Come by to meet Deputy Director Tiara Cooper or volunteer to help with the table by emailing

Justice & Java in Houston
Join TCADP Board Members in the Houston area for coffee on Saturday, June 29, 2024, and Saturday, July 20, 2024, from 9:30 to 10:30 AM — location TBD. These gatherings will be a relaxed setting to meet other TCADP members in the region, share your passion for this cause, and learn about current campaigns and initiatives. More details coming soon!

TCADP Book Group
The TCADP Book Group meets every six to eight weeks on Zoom and reads a mix of fiction, non-fiction, and memoirs. Our next selection is Little Shoes: The Sensational Depression-Era Murders That Became My Family’s Secret by Pamela Everett. We will discuss the book on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, at 7:00 PM CT. Register here. (Note: If you previously signed up for the book group, you do not need to register again.)

Seeking 50 New Partners in 2024!

Last month, TCADP kicked off a special campaign to enlist 50 new recurring donors—our amazing Partners for Justice—by World Day Against the Death Penalty on October 10, 2024. 

With recurring gifts, Partners provide a steady source of income for our organization and support initiatives like our clemency campaigns, presentations to faith communities and student groups, and webinars. 

As a token of our appreciation, the next three people who sign up to be Partners (minimum donation of $10/month) will receive a complimentary TCADP t-shirt or a signed copy of one of the books in the TCADP library. Become a Partner for Justice today and advance our mission to create a world free from the death penalty