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 (3)

October 5, 2022: John Ramirez, who was convicted in Nueces County in 2009. The District Attorney filed a motion to withdraw the date, but the judge rejected that request. Take action today! See below for information on how you can support Ramirez’s application for clemency.

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

November 16, 2022: Stephen Barbee, who was convicted in Tarrant County in 2006.

Check the TDCJ website for official information on scheduled executions. (Note: Three executions have been scheduled for 2023.)

Stays of Execution (3)

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).

On July 11, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay to Ramiro Gonzales, who was scheduled to be executed two days later. It remanded a claim about false testimony by the State’s trial expert regarding recidivism rates. 

Executions (2)

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

August 17, 2022: The State of Texas executed Kosoul Chanthakoummane for the murder of Sarah Walker in Collin County in 2006. Joe Walker, the father of Sarah, adamantly opposed the death penalty. Chanthakoummane’s conviction was based in part on now-discredited science, including bitemark evidence.

Clemency Campaigns

Support clemency for John Ramirez

On October 5, 2022, the State of Texas is scheduled to execute John Ramirez, who was convicted of killing and robbing Pablo Castro in Corpus Christi in 2004. He was 20 years old at the time of the offense.

This is the fourth execution date Ramirez has faced in recent years and comes after extensive legal wrangling about the presence and practices of spiritual advisors in the execution chamber. 

In September 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed Ramirez’s execution to consider his federal complaint alleging the violation of the free exercise of his religious beliefs. Ramirez had requested that his spiritual advisor, Pastor Dana Moore of Second Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, accompany him in the execution chamber and be allowed to lay hands upon him and pray aloud at his moment of death in accordance with his religious practice. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) denied those requests. The Justices heard oral arguments in the case on November 9, 2021. 

In the Court’s opinion in Ramirez v. Collier, released on March 24, 2022, it upheld the religious rights of individuals facing execution in Texas. In compliance with that decision, TDCJ now is considering requests involving spiritual advisors on a case-by-case basis. 

Ramirez’s latest execution date was sought without the knowledge or consent of Nueces County District Attorney (DA) Mark Gonzalez, who has publicly expressed his belief that the death penalty is unethical. Gonzalez filed a motion to withdraw the date but a state district judge rejected that motion.

On September 22, 2022, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied a stay of execution. It also refused to intervene in the state district judge’s refusal to grant DA Gonzalez’s request to withdraw the execution date.

Contact the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles by Friday, September 30

Ramirez has filed an application for clemency with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles in which he requests a commutation of his sentence. 

Email the members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles at bpp_clemency@tdcj.texas.gov to urge them to recommend clemency for Ramirez (you must include his TDCJ#999544 and DOB 06/29/1984 in your appeals). Share your concerns with Governor Greg Abbott.  You’ll find talking points, a sample letter, and additional contact information for the Board and Governor below.  Contact the Board by Friday, September 30, 3022.

Talking points for your appeals to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Abbott

The jury that sentenced John Ramirez to death never heard about his traumatic childhood and mental health issues, including an attempted suicide.

  • Ramirez’s trial counsel failed to present the jury with important mitigating evidence about his difficult childhood and adolescence, which included witnessing a violent attack on his mother when he was nine years old, or the mental breakdown that led to his discharge from the Marine Corps.
  • Neither Ramirez’s trial nor state habeas counsel sought the military records detailing his mental health breakdown. 
  • After his discharge, Ramirez failed to receive adequate follow-up care from the Veterans Administration or Marine Corps. 

John Ramirez has taken responsibility for killing Pablo Castro and is remorseful for this senseless, tragic killing. 

  • Ramirez admits guilt of the murder and accepts he will spend the rest of his life in prison. He claims that the murder of Mr. Castro did not occur while committing or attempting to commit a robbery, however. 
  • Under Texas law, if no robbery occurred, Ramirez was not guilty of a capital offense and should not have been eligible for the death penalty. 

John Ramirez is more than his worst act. 

  • Ramirez has grown mentally, emotionally, and spiritually during his years on death row. 
  • He has been active in prison ministry as well as the prison radio station at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas. 

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

I am writing to urge you to grant clemency to John Ramirez (TDCJ# 999544; DOB 06/29/1984), who is scheduled to be executed on October 5, 2022. I am deeply concerned the jury that sentenced Ramirez to death never heard about his traumatic childhood or his mental breakdown, which led to his discharge from the Marine Corps. This mitigating evidence could have made a significant difference to the jurors’ deliberations about punishment. 

Ramirez has taken responsibility for his actions and is remorseful for the senseless killing of Pablo Castro. He is not the same person who committed this violent act, as demonstrated by his mental and spiritual growth during his years on death row.

In the interest of fairness and justice, I implore you to do everything in your power to stop the execution of John Ramirez.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Your name

Past Clemency Campaigns

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay to Ramiro Gonzales, who was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, July 13, 2022. It remanded a claim about false testimony by the State’s trial expert regarding recidivism rates. Thanks to everyone who contacted the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Abbott in support of clemency or a reprieve for Ramiro. Read about his case here.

#SaveMelissaLucio
Melissa Lucio, 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. 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. The Board recommended clemency by a vote of of 6-1. 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 5-2 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
Elodia Brito
Carmella Jones
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.