By JUAN A. LOZANO
HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge has issued a temporary order telling Texas prison officials that they can carry out next week’s scheduled execution of a death row inmate only if they grant all of his religious accommodations, including allowing his spiritual adviser to hold his hand when he receives a lethal injection.
Ramiro Gonzales is scheduled to be executed July 13 for the 2001 fatal shooting of 18-year-old Bridget Townsend.
Texas prison officials have objected to allowing Gonzales’ spiritual adviser to hold his hand during the execution, saying it could be a security risk.
Gonzales says the specific physical contact he’s requested is “vitally important” to his religious beliefs.
A prison system spokeswoman says her agency is still evaluating the judge’s order.