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OC officials keep inmate alive they want to ultimately execute

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POSTED April 28, 2013 9:05 p.m.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A man charged with raping and killing a woman 30 years ago is being kept alive in Orange County with dialysis treatments until officials can win permission to execute him.
Richard Raymond Ramirez, 53, who has liver and kidney disease, is taken from the county jail to a hospital for the life-saving treatment twice a week.
Federal law and court rulings require the jail to provide proper medical treatment for all inmates, county Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jim Amormino said.
Meanwhile, prosecutors are preparing for his trial and intend to seek the death penalty.
“This is the ultimate irony of the death penalty,” his public defender, Mick Hill, told the Orange County Register last week. “They are keeping my client alive so they can kill him. It’s a complete waste.”
Ramirez already was a convicted rapist when he was charged with the 1983 rape and stabbing of 22-year-old Kimberly Gonsale in an alley behind a Garden Grove bar. He spent most of the past 30 years on death row at San Quentin prison, but in 2008 a federal judge overturned his conviction and death penalty on grounds of juror misconduct.
Attorneys are in the midst of jury selection for a new trial and are looking at more than 850 prospective panelists. The trial could begin next month and run through mid-June.
The district attorney’s office is seeking the death penalty.
“This murder and his life of crime, regardless of the passage of time or his current medical condition, deserve the ultimate punishment,” Deputy District Attorney Larry Yellin said. “I guarantee you that the devastating impact of Kim’s murder has not diminished one bit among those who loved her.”

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