Stop Executions

You have a critical role to play in stopping executions in Texas. On this page, you will find the dates of scheduled executions, information on clemency campaigns, and contact information for the Governor of Texas and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. On the days of scheduled executions, we encourage you to take part in vigils in your areaFollow TCADP on Twitter @TCADPdotORG for case updates.

Texas Executions in 2022

Scheduled Executions (4)

July 13, 2022: Ramiro Gonzales, who was convicted in Medina County in 2006. Watch this heartbreaking video and then take action to support his request for clemency – see below for details.

August 17, 2022: Kosoul Chanthakoummane, who was convicted in Collin County in 2007.

October 5, 2022: John Ramirez, who was convicted in Nueces County in 2009. (Note: The District Attorney filed a motion to withdraw the date, but on June 21, 2022, the judge rejected that request.)

November 9, 2022: Tracy Beatty, who was convicted in Smith County in 2004.

Stays of Execution (2)

On March 3, 2022, the Texas Court of Criminals stayed the March 8 execution of Michael Gonzales based on his claims of intellectual disability and the withholding of evidence.

On April 25, 2022, two days before the scheduled execution of Melissa Lucio, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted her a stay of execution and directed the trial court to consider her actual innocence claim (see below for details).

Executions (1)

April 21, 2022: Texas executed Carl Wayne Buntion, who at 78 was the oldest person on death row in Texas and was the oldest person executed by the State. He was convicted in 1991 in Harris County.

Check the TDCJ website for official information on scheduled executions.

Clemency Campaigns

Support clemency for Ramiro Gonzales
Ramiro Gonzales is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas on July 13, 2022, for the murder of Bridget Townsend, an offense he committed when he was just 18 years old. At the time, Gonzales was gripped by a serious drug addiction rooted in prenatal substance exposure and childhood trauma, abuse, and neglect. Now, after 15 years on death row, he is a different person, as evidenced by the fact that even the State’s trial expert now believes he “does not pose a risk of future danger to society,” a determination that is required for a jury to impose a death sentence in Texas. Gonzales accepts responsibility for his crimes and has sought to atone for them.

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roper v. Simmons that it is unconstitutional to impose a death sentence on individuals under the age of 18 at the time of the offense. Since that time, scientific research has continued to show that brains do not fully mature until the early-to-mid-twenties, which means that no one can predict whether an 18-year-old will be dangerous in the future.

Texas is virtually alone in the United States in executing persons who were teenagers at the time of their offense. More teenaged defendants have been executed in Texas than in any other state. In fact, only four other states have executed more persons of any age than Texas has executed people who were teenagers at the time of the offense.

Gonzales has filed an application for clemency with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Greg Abbott in which he asks for the commutation of his death sentence to a lesser penalty or, in the alternative, a 180-day reprieve to allow him to fulfill his desire to be a kidney donor.

Email the members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles at bpp_clemency@tdcj.texas.gov by Friday, July 8, 2022 to urge clemency for Ramiro Gonzales. Include his TDCJ # 999513 and DOB 11/05/1982 in your appeals. Share your concerns with Governor Greg Abbott. You can adapt one of our sample messages or use the talking points to craft your own note. Contact information for the Board and Governor is below.

Download and share the PDF version of this action alert.

Key talking points

  • Just 71 days past his 18th birthday at the time of the offense for which he was sentenced to die, Ramiro Gonzales is one of the youngest persons to be sentenced to death in the United States since the Supreme Court held in 2005 that the Constitution bars imposition of the death penalty on anyone under the age of 18.
  • The scientific and societal rationales for exempting juveniles from the death penalty apply equally to older teenage defendants like Gonzales.
  • His childhood was marked by trauma, abuse, and neglect. Much of this mitigation evidence was not presented to the jury by his court-appointed attorneys, who failed to provide any context for his impulsive behavior and acts of violence.
  • Away from the traumatic environment of his youth, Gonzales has grown up in prison and is now a mature and peaceful adult. In recent interviews, death row prison guards have described him as “sensitive,” “genuinely” changed, a “good communicator,” and as someone who they “feel safe around” and who is “never problematic.”
  • The mental health expert who testified for the prosecution at trial that Gonzales would present a future danger—even if incarcerated—has recently re-evaluated him after 15 years on death row and now concludes that Gonzales does not present a danger to anyone.
  • In the 15 years he has been on death row, Gonzales has devoted himself to self-improvement, contemplation, and prayer. He is devoutly religious and shares his practice with spiritual advisors and with others on death row. Gonzales takes full responsibility for his crimes and has sought to atone for them and to seek redemption, expressing his genuine remorse in both words and actions.
  • A 180-day reprieve would allow Gonzales to donate a kidney to a person in critical need of a vital organ transplant—a process he has been pursuing for over a year—and enable him to atone for the life he has taken by helping to save a life.

Sample email message #1

Dear Chairman Gutiérrez and Members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles,

I am writing to urge you to recommend clemency to Ramiro Gonzales (TDCJ # 999513 and DOB 11/05/1982), who is scheduled to be executed on July 13, 2022. Barely 18 years old at the time of the crime for which he was sentenced to die, Gonzales is one of the youngest persons to be sentenced to death in the United States since the Supreme Court held in 2005 that the Constitution bars imposition of the death penalty on anyone under the age of 18.

Scientific research shows that our brains do not fully mature until we reach our early-to-mid-twenties, and yet Texas requires jurors to determine “future dangerousness” when deciding whether to impose a death sentence. In Gonzales’s case, that prediction has proven to be patently false – so much so that the State’s own trial expert now concludes that Gonzales does not present a danger to anyone.

Based on his age at the time of the crime, his growth and maturity during his 15 years on death row, and his deep remorse for taking the life of Bridget Townsend, Ramiro Gonzales is deserving of clemency. I implore you to recommend the commutation of his death sentence.

Sample email message #2

Dear Chairman Gutiérrez and Members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles,

I am writing in support of clemency for Ramiro Gonzales (TDCJ # 999513 and DOB 11/05/1982), who faces execution by the State of Texas on July 13, 2022. Gonzales has expressed his sincere remorse for the murder of Bridget Townsend, an offense he committed when he was just 18 years old and addicted to drugs.

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to execute individuals under the age of 18 at the time of the offense. I believe the same factors that guided the Justices in that decision apply to Gonzales’s case, as there is no real difference between the brain of 17-year-olds and people under the age of 21 when it comes to maturity, impulse control, and the ability to make rational decisions. Those brain functions are at the core of a jury’s evaluation of future dangerousness, which is required for the imposition of a death sentence in Texas.

Now, the mental health expert who testified for the prosecution at trial that Gonzales would present a future danger has re-evaluated him after 15 years on death row and concluded that Gonzales 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.

Through the clemency process, you can compensate for the rigidities of the judicial system, which does not have a meaningful way to review the accuracy of “future dangerousness” determinations at trial. I implore you to exercise your power to recommend that Governor Abbott commute Gonzales’s death sentence to a lesser punishment in consideration of the factors cited above. In calling for mercy for Gonzales, I do not condone his actions, but I do believe he deserves a second chance.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Past Clemency Campaigns

#SaveMelissaLucio
Melissa, one of six women on death row in Texas, was convicted and sentenced to death in Cameron County in 2008 for causing the death of her two-year-old daughter, Mariah. There is compelling evidence that Mariah’s death was a tragic accident resulting from a head injury she suffered in a fall—not a homicide. 

On April 25, 2022, just two days before her scheduled execution, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay to Melissa Lucio. The Court ordered the 138th Judicial District Court of Cameron Country to consider multiple claims related to new evidence of Melissa’s innocence of the accidental death of her daughter, Mariah.

You can find statements from Melissa Lucio and her attorneys in response to the stay here.

The Court’s Stay Order re: Application for Post-Conviction and Habeas Petition: https://tinyurl.com/42h4zb6n

Melissa Lucio’s First Subsequent Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/2paxuabx

We are grateful to everyone who contacted the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Abbott, signed the Innocence Project petition, shared information about Melissa’s case with your networks, or otherwise took action to #SaveMelissaLucio. We also want to express our appreciation to her legal team and everyone who supported them in the effort to stop this execution. Melissa’s path to justice took a major step forward today. We will continue to monitor her case for new developments and share updates with you. 

What is Clemency?

In order for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to consider clemency for a person facing imminent execution, an application for clemency must be filed. The Governor of Texas has the authority to issue a one-time 30-day reprieve but can only grant clemency upon the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Paroles. A recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles is not binding, however.

Since 1976, the Board of Pardons and Paroles has recommended clemency in only five cases where the inmate faced imminent execution. Then-Governor Rick Perry rejected two of those recommendations and allowed the executions to proceed.

  • Henry Lee Lucas – Governor George W. Bush commuted his sentence in 1998 due to lingering concerns about his guilt. Lucas died of natural causes in prison in 2001 while serving a life sentence.
  • Kelsey Patterson –  The Board voted 5-1 for clemency but Governor Rick Perry rejected the recommendation.  Patterson had a long-standing diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. He was executed on May 18, 2004.
  • Kenneth Foster – Governor Perry commuted Foster’s sentence in 2007 due to concern about a Texas law that allowed capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously. Foster had been convicted under the law of parties for a 1996 murder, even though he was sitting in a car 80 feet away at the time of the crime. He is serving a life sentence.
  • Robert Lee Thompson – Governor Perry rejected the Board’s recommendation for clemency even though Thompson was not the triggerman in the murder of Mansoor Rahim. He had been convicted under the law of parties. His co-defendant, Sammy Butler, the actual killer of Mr. Rahim, was tried separately and convicted on a lesser charge. Butler is serving a life sentence and will be eligible for parole. Thompson was executed on November 19, 2009.
  • Thomas “Bart” Whitaker – On February 22, 2018, Governor Greg Abbott accepted the Board’s unanimous recommendation of clemency for Whitaker, who was scheduled to be executed that same day.  It was the first such commutation in Texas since 2007.  Whitaker is now serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. Read the Governor’s statement here.

Write the Governor of Texas and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles

You are welcome to contact the Board and Governor even when there is no specific clemency campaign.  Please note that clemency applications typically are filed 21 days before the execution date, so it is best to send a letter of support around that time. Be sure to include the TDCJ #, date of birth, and full name of the person on whose behalf you are writing.

The Board usually informs attorneys of its decision two business days before the execution date.

Here are some general talking points for your letters:

  • State your concerns about the inherent flaws and failures of the Texas death penalty system.
  • Express outrage and alarm at the high number of executions that continue to take place in Texas.
  • Urge the Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend clemency.

Contact information for calls, letters, and emails*

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Clemency Section
8610 Shoal Creek Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78757
Phone (512) 406-5852
Fax (512) 467-0945
Online Contact: bpp_clemency@tdcj.texas.gov

Current Members:
Chair: David Gutierrez
Carmella Jones
James LaFavers
Brian Long
Marsha Moberley
Linda Molina
Ed Robertson

*Letters and emails are preferred by the Board.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

Information and Referral Hotline: (800) 843-5789 [for Texas callers]
Information and Referral and Opinion Hotline: (512) 463-1782 [for Austin, Texas and out-of-state callers]
Office of the Governor Main Switchboard: 512-463-2000

Online Contact: https://gov.texas.gov/contact/

The governor can grant clemency only upon the written recommendation of a majority of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, whose members he appoints.  He has the limited authority to grant a one-time, 30-day stay of execution.

Execution Watch

“Execution Watch” can be heard on KPFT HD-2 and online here from 6:00 PM CT to 7:00 PM CT on any day an execution is scheduled in Texas.