A Texas inmate was executed on Wednesday for killing a Dallas convenience store clerk during a shooting spree in late 2001 that resulted in the death of two and a third being injured. Mark Stroman 41, was pronounced dead at 8:53 pm.
Stroman was arrested for shooting three men of South Asian origin although he claimed that his wrath was targeted at people of Middle Eastern descent. The death of 49-year old Vasudev Patel put Stroman on death row.
Stroman claimed his outburst was due to revenge he was seeking for the September 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In separate shootings, Stroman killed Waqar Hasan, a Pakistani immigrant in his Dallas convenience store and Vasudev Patel, an Indian immigrant at a gas station. It was the latter's death that resulted in Stroman getting the death row. Stroman had also shot Rais Bhuiyan, a naturalized US citizen from Bangladesh. Bhuiyan, who lost sight in one of his eyes when Stroman shot him in the face, unsuccessfully sued for stopping the execution. However, a federal district judge in Austin rejected the lawsuit and his request for an injunction on Wednesday afternoon.
Stroman was previously convicted for burglary, robbery, theft and credit card abuse and served at least two prison terms and was paroled twice. He had also committed armed robbery when he was 12.
Texas reportedly has executed more inmates than any other state since the death penalty was reinstated in the US in 1976 in the Gregg vs Georgia decision. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice statistics indicate that 471 executions have been carried out in the state since 1976 with the first execution since the reinstatement carried out in 1982. Stroman's execution puts the figure at 472. With Stroman Texas will have carried out 7 executions in 2011 so far.
Earlier the execution of Humberto Leal Garcia on July 7 in Huntsville, Texas, resulted in a lot of criticism and outrage around the world. It was considered a violation of International Law by which a nation is required to notify consular officials if a foreign national is arrested or committed to prison or to custody pending trial or is detained in any other manner.
According to Leal's attorney, the Texas officials did not give the Mexican a chance to contact Mexican consular officials, nor did they inform those officials that a Mexican national was in their custody on a murder charge. Leal's case resulted in appeals by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay as well as the Mexican ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan to stay the execution. However, all the appeals were dismissed. On June 19, Lee Taylor was also executed in Texas for fatally stabbing fellow prison inmate in 1999.
Capital punishment has been a widely-debated subject around the world. Human rights groups like Amnesty International have been vociferous in their opposition to the death penalty which they believe is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. This cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice. It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reads a posting on the organization's website.
As of 2010, 96 countries had abolished death penalty for all crimes and more than two thirds of the countries in the world had abolished the death penalty in law or practice, says Amnesty.
In the US, still 34 states, besides the federal government the US Military, have capital punishment.