Texas executes 400th inmate

Aug. 22, 2007 at 11:30 PM
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HUNTSVILLE, Texas, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Texas, brushing aside international calls to abandon capital punishment, Wednesday exacted the ultimate penalty a 400th time, executing a store clerk's killer.

Johnny Ray Conner, a 32-year-old native of Shreveport, La., died by lethal injection just after 6 p.m. in the Texas death chamber in Huntsville not long after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to step in, KWTX-TV in Waco reported.Conner was executed for the 1998 shooting death of Houston convenience store clerk Kathyanna Nguyen and the wounding of a customer who survived.

The European Union had asked Texas Gov. Rick Perry not to execute Conner and declare a death penalty moratorium, the Houston Chronicle said. But in response, gubernatorial spokesman Robert Black alluded to the Revolutionary War when "our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination."

"Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens," Black said. "While we respect our friends in Europe, welcome their investment in our state and appreciate their interest in our laws, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas."

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