A Texas man set to be executed in less than two weeks asked to delay his execution so he can donate a kidney.
Ramiro Gonzales, 39, who is set to die by lethal injection on 13 July, has submitted formal requests to postpone his execution so he can provide a kidney donation for someone urgently needing a transplant.
“How can I give back life – I think this could be probably one of the closest things to doing that,” Gonzales said to the Marshall Project.
Gonzales’s lawyers requested a 30 day-reprieve from Texas’s governor, Greg Abbott, and a separate 180-day reprieve from the Texas board of pardons and paroles, citing the kidney donation.
Gonzales first got the idea to donate his kidney while corresponding with Michael Zoosman, a former prison chaplain and anti-death penalty activist, reported the Independent.
The two had been corresponding with each other since January 2021, exchanging letters, artwork and poetry. In one letter, Zoosman mentioned that a woman in his community was searching for a kidney donor, and Gonzales replied that he was eager to help.
“He jumped on it,” Zoosman said to the Independent, adding that Gonzales wanted to find “a way of saving a life”.
While Gonzales was ultimately not a match for the woman, he remained interested in finding ways to donate his kidney.
Gonzalez also has a rare blood type, which could help those who have difficulty finding an eligible match.
“There has been no doubt in my mind that Ramiro’s desire to be an altruistic kidney donor is not motivated by a last-minute attempt to stop or delay his execution,” Zoosman wrote to the Associated Press. “I will go to my grave believing in my heart that this is something that Ramiro wants to do to help make his soul right with his God.”
The Texas criminal justice department does allow incarcerated people to donate organs and tissues.
Gonzales was deemed ineligible to donate after making a request earlier this year, said department spokesperson Amanda Hernandez to Associated Press, though she did not provide a reason why.
The Texas pardons and paroles board is set to vote on Gonzales’s reprieve requests on 11 July.
Gonzales is on death row after being convicted of fatally shooting Bridget Townsend, 18, of south-west Texas, in 2001.