Christopher Young is the eighth prisoner to be put to death in Texas so far this year.
(AP Photo/Mike Graczyk)
HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Texas inmate was executed Tuesday evening for the fatal shooting of a San Antonio convenience of the owner of the shop after courts rejected appeals that the state parole board improperly rejected the inmate’s clemency request because he is black.
Christopher Young, 34, never denied the murder, which was recorded on a store surveillance camera, but insisted that he was drunk and did not intend to kill 53-year-old Hasmukh “Hash” Patel during an attempted robbery after drinking almost two dozen beer and then doing cocaine, that Sunday morning, Nov. 21, 2004.
Asked by the director if he makes a definitive statement, Young said that he wanted to make sure the victim’s family knew he loved them “if they love me.”
“Make sure that the children in the world to know that I am the one that is running and those kids I’ve been mentoring keep this fight going,” he added.
If the lethal dose of the sedative pentobarbital began with effect, he twice used an obscenity to say that he would taste, and that was on fire.
“I taste it in my throat,” he said.
As he slipped into unconsciousness, he said something unintelligible and began the shallow breath. He stopped moving within about 30 seconds, and was pronounced dead at 6:38 pm CDT.
Five-and-twenty minutes had passed since he was first given the lethal drug.
Hasmukh Patel’s son supported leniency for Young people.
Young was the eighth prisoner put to death this year in Texas, one more than all of 2017 in the nation’s busiest death penalty state.
Young lawyers called the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, after the panel last week rejected a clemency plea in which they contended Young was “no longer the young man that he was when he arrived” on death row, that he is “truly remorseful” and that He is the son not want the execution to take place.
In their federal civil rights suit, Young lawyers argued a white Texas inmate, Thomas Whitaker, received a rare commutation earlier this year when his execution was imminent for the killing of his mother and brother. Young is black and the race wrong “seems to be the driving force in this matter,” lawyer David Dow said in the appeal, asked for a postponement of the punishment.
A federal judge in Houston rejected the lawsuit and refused to stop the execution, then hours later on Tuesday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal rejected an appeal against that judgment. Young lawyers not to take the case to the U.S. Supreme court.
Stephen Hoffman, an assistant Texas attorney general, said the lawsuit was a delay tactic, incorrect, speculative, and “legally and factually deficient.”
Young and his lawyers argued that he no longer was a Bloods street gang member, had matured in prison and is hoping to show others “look where you can end up.”
“I didn’t know about death row,” Young told The Associated Press recently from prison. “It should be talked about. You have a whole new generation. You have to stop this, not only executions, but the crimes. No one talks to these children. I can’t bring Hash back, but I can do something to ensure that there are no more Hashes.”
According to the court documents, Young victims of sexual violence a woman in her apartment, with her three young children present, then forced her to drive him in her car. They managed to escape, and records show he drove a block to the Mini-Supermarket where the owner Patel was shot. He was arrested 90 minutes later after picking up a prostitute and driving to a crack house where the stolen car was parked outside and saw that San Antonio police.
From prison, he denied the sexual assault, although court records said a DNA test confirmed the attack. He said that he shot Patel in the hand and the ball, the in Patel’s chest, killing him. The surveillance camera recorded both video and audio from the recording, and two customers in the parking lot identified Young as the shooter.
Mitesh Patel, whose father was murdered by a Young, said he supported Young’s clemency bid, because “nothing positive comes from his execution” and the execution of the sentence would be the Young three daughters without a father.
The victim’s son met privately with the Young people in the prison Monday.
“I do not agree with the state the choice to execute him,” he told the San Antonio Express-News after the meeting.
Young said the shooting stemmed from a dispute in which he believed involved the mother of one of his three children and the owner of the store. The woman, however, lied to him, he said.
“He was not a bad guy,” Young said. “I was drunk. We knew the victim. The whole confrontation went wrong. I thought he was for the reach of a gun and I’ll shoot.”
Young said he excelled in chess and violin, cello and double bass, but “stopped” and he is a member of the Bloods, when he was approximately 8 after his father was shot during a robbery.
At least seven other Texas prisoners execution dates in the coming months.