ATMORE, Ala., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Alabama executed convenience store clerk killer Derrick O'Neal Mason Thursday evening, prison officials said.
Mason, 37, was pronounced dead at 6:49 p.m. local time at Holman Correctional Institute in Atmore, The Huntsville Times reported.
His execution for the 1994 execution-style slaying of Huntsville convenience store clerk Angela Cagle came a day after Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley declined to commute his sentence to life in prison without the chance of parole. Defense attorneys' last-ditch appeals to the state's highest court and U.S. Supreme Court were rejected.
Mason used his last statement to apologize to Cagle's family, the executive director of Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty said.
The newspaper said the death row inmate was visited at the prison by several people during the day. Prison officials said he didn't eat breakfast and was expected to skip dinner as well, the Times said.
Alabama has put five people to death this year.
Texas ends special last meals
HOUSTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Texas death row inmates will no longer get whatever they want for their last meal before being executed, the state's top corrections official said Thursday.
Prisons chief Brad Livingston said effective immediately the last meals will consist of whatever is on the menu for all prisoners at the Walls Unit at the state prison in Huntsville, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The end to the decades-long tradition of allowing condemned inmates one last meal of their own choosing came after state lawmaker John Whitmere became angered about the over-the-top meal Lawrence Russell Brewer ordered before he was put to death Wednesday but never consumed.
"It is extremely inappropriate to give a person sentenced to death such a privilege," Whitmire, chairman of the state Senate Criminal Justice Committee, said in a letter to Livingston. "I have yielded to TDCJ [Texas Department of Criminal Justice] judgment in the past, but now enough is enough."
He threatened to get legislation passed outlawing special last meals if Livingston didn't act.
Brewer ordered fried okra with ketchup, two chicken fried steaks with gravy and onions, and a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, and bell and jalapeno peppers.
When he didn't eat it, it was discarded, the newspaper said.
GOP to Buffett: Release tax returns
WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Republicans in Congress say billionaire Warren Buffett, an advocate for higher taxes for the rich in the United States, should release his tax returns.
President Obama has advocated what he calls the "Buffett rule," that the very rich should pay at least as high a rate as those with less money. Buffett publicly stated that he pays at a lower rate than his secretary and urged higher taxes on the "mega-rich."
Republicans argue Buffett should be open about his own taxes if he is going to advocate tax policy, The Hill reported.
"If he's going to be the gold standard, so to speak, in terms of what our tax policy should be, yeah, let's look at it," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in an interview with ABC News.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, wrote an open letter to Buffett Thursday.
"Given the use of your name and your story as the guiding force for the president's policy prescription, it is my hope that the evidence to justify such a change in policy will soon be available for public review," he said.
Ahmadinejad attacks U.S. in U.N. speech
NEW YORK, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad railed against the United States, Israel and the European Union in a speech Thursday at the U.N. General Assembly.
Ahmadinejad blamed the West for global recession and questioned the Holocaust in a 30-minute tirade that provoked a walkout by delegates from the United States and other countries, The New York Times reported.
Ahmadinejad again accused the West of using the Holocaust as an excuse to oppress the Palestinian people.
"They threaten anyone who questions the Holocaust and Sept. 11 with sanctions and military action?" he said.
Ahmadinejad spent most of his speech attacking the West and trying to raise conspiracy theories about Sept. 11, the newspaper said.
The United States condemned the speech.
"Mr. Ahmadinejad had a chance to address his own people's aspirations for freedom and dignity, but instead he again turned to abhorrent anti-Semitic slurs and despicable conspiracy theories," said Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said he finds it "rich that the Iranian president would have such criticism. Our position on that regime's treatment of its own people is well known."
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