Texas executes Mark Stroman

July 20, 2011 at 11:04 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, July 20 (UPI) -- Texas executed convicted killer Mark Anthony Stroman Wednesday after a judge rejected a request by one of Stroman's shooting victims to stay the execution.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Stroman was put to death at 9:53 p.m. EDT, CNN reported.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin Wednesday rejected a request by Rais Bhuiyan, who was shot during a hate crime in Dallas, to halt Stroman's execution so he could speak with him.

Stroman shot Bhuiyan and killed two immigrants during a Sept. 21, 2001, shooting spree in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States.

Yeakel turned down the request, saying he did not have legal authority to intervene, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Yeakel's order said any injury to Bhuiyan due to possible violation of the Crime Victims' Rights statute would be outweighed "by the damage to the operation of the criminal justice system as a whole that would result from this court's granted the requested stay."

"A lot of things I have to know from [(Stroman's] mouth, to look into his eyes and to know his side of things," Bhuiyan had said. "The trauma he caused, the mental anguish from the last nine years, it needs to come to an end."

Stroman killed Waqar Hasan, a Pakistani immigrant, in his Dallas convenience store, and then killed Vsudev Patel, an Indian immigrant, at a gas station in Mesquite.

Bhuiyan, a 37-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Bangladesh, said his Muslim faith compels him to forgive his attacker, and he wants to break the cycle of violence. He sued Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas prison system, claiming they violated his rights as a crime victim by ordering the execution without offering him a mediation session with Stroman.

Assistant state Attorney General Cynthia Burton, who argued the judge does not have the authority to interfere with an execution order, said Bhuiyan was aware of the possibility for mediation years ago and made his claim too late.

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