Texas inmate executed after gov. rejects clemency

AP News
Posted: Nov 19, 2009 8:10 PM

Inmate Robert Lee Thompson was executed Thursday evening for his part in a fatal Houston store holdup after the Texas governor rejected a parole board's recommendation to spare him because he wasn't the gunman.

Thompson, 34, was an accomplice to triggerman Sammy Butler who gunned down 29-year-old store clerk Mansoor Bhai Rahim Mohammed 13 years ago.

Butler received life in prison. A jury gave Thompson death.

Thompson's lawyer told the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Thompson's punishment wasn't fair and the panel voted 5-2 Wednesday to recommend his sentence be commuted to life.

Gov. Rick Perry was not obligated to follow that rare recommendation and the execution was carried out about 45 minutes after his decision.

Thompson, in brief comments from the death chamber gurney, invoked Allah as his God, and thanked friends and his mother for their love and support.

"I know Allah will forgive me," he said.

He was pronounced dead at 6:19 p.m., nine minutes after he was injected with the lethal drugs.

Thompson was the 23rd inmate executed this year in Texas and the second this week.

Evidence at his trial showed Thompson, who is black, told detectives he went on a two-month crime spree in 1996 because God told him to do something about Middle Eastern and Asian store clerks who discriminated against blacks.

The killing was one of three he acknowledged. In two of them, Thompson told detectives he was the gunman.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Thompson blamed the spree on the recklessness of youth.

"It was impulsive ... nothing planned," he said. "Just _ Bam!"