Texas, Georgia set to execute two men for killings

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 20, 2011 10:13 AM
Texas, Georgia set to execute two men for killings

By Karen Brooks and David Beasley

AUSTIN/ATLANTA (Reuters) - Texas and Georgia are each scheduled to execute a man by lethal injection on Wednesday, one for killing three family members and another for fatally shooting a store clerk in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks.

The men would be the 28th and 29th inmates put to death in the United States this year.

The execution of Mark Stroman, 41, in Texas is set to be carried out over the protests of a man he shot but who survived.

Stroman admitted to a series of shootings near Dallas between September 15 and October 4, 2001 that left two men dead and nearly killed a third.

He thought all of the men were of Middle Eastern descent and viewed the attacks as "patriotic" in defense of a country that hadn't done enough to protect itself from terrorism, according to a report by the Texas Attorney General's Office.

Stroman's death sentence came for the robbery and killing of Vasudev Patel, who was shot in the chest and lay dying on the floor of his Mesquite store as Stroman demanded he open the cash register.

A man who survived getting shot in the face by Stroman is now fighting for his attacker to be spared.

Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Muslim from Bangladesh, says the execution is against his religion and is asking for a meeting with Stroman.

Bhuiyan and his lawyers have filed a lawsuit against Texas Governor Rick Perry, claiming Bhuiyan's rights as a victim are being violated because he never got to meet with his attacker or tell the court how he wanted Stroman punished.

Stroman has indicated in news reports he is touched by Bhuiyan's actions on his behalf.

Texas has the country's most active death row, executing more than four times as many people as any other state since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

GEORGIA INMATE OBJECTS TO DRUG

Attorneys in Georgia are fighting to block the execution of 37-year-old Andrew Grant DeYoung, convicted of fatally stabbing his parents and his 14-year-old sister in their suburban Atlanta home in 1993.

According to court documents, DeYoung hoped to inherit his parents' estimated $480,000 estate and start a business.

He planned to kill his entire family with an accomplice, but his 16-year-old brother escaped through a bedroom window and survived the attack.

Lawyers for DeYoung this week argued pentobarbital, one of the three drugs Georgia uses in lethal injections, would cause "needless suffering."

Georgia first used pentobarbital, a sedative often used to euthanize animals, for the June 23 execution of Roy Blankenship.

According to a reporter who witnessed that execution, Blankenship "jerked his head several times throughout the procedure and muttered after the pentobarbital was injected into his veins," court documents state.

Pentobarbital "has not been scientifically tested as a free-standing anesthesia on humans," DeYoung's attorneys said in court documents.

Attorneys for the state said the execution protocol requires a nurse and warden to examine the inmate after pentobarbital is administered to make sure he is unconscious before using the second drug, pancuronium bromide.

DeYoung's claim pentobarbital is untested "is simply disingenuous as 17 executions have been carried out across the country this year with pentobarbital without incident," Georgia lawyers wrote in court briefs.

Georgia has executed 50 men since 1976. DeYoung would be the state's 28th inmate executed by lethal injection.

He requested pizza, breadsticks, all-fruit strawberry preserves, grape juice and vanilla ice cream for his last meal, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)