Death row inmate’s last words
'I'M good, Warden".
With those final three official words, a 34-year-old Texas death row inmate completed his final statement, then met his fate.
As the lethal injection began to take effect, Christopher Young he said he could taste it, and it was burning, ABC Eyewitness news reports.
"I taste it in my throat," he said, before slipping into unconsciousness, the news channel said.
Young was executed for the fatal shooting of a San Antonio convenience store owner during an attempted robbery nearly 14 years ago.
In his final statement, Young, who has never denied the slaying, extended his thoughts to the family of his victim, whose son had asked that his killer be spared.
"I want to make sure the Patel family knows I love them like they love me," he said.
"Make sure the kids in the world know I'm being executed and those kids I've been mentoring keep this fight going. I'm good Warden."
He received a lethal injection on Tuesday evening in the US, after courts refused last-day appeals that the Texas parole board improperly rejected Young's clemency request because he's black.
Young was put to death for November 2004 slaying of 53-year-old Hasmukh "Hash" Patel, which was recorded on a store surveillance camera, but insisted he was drunk and didn't intend to kill the store owner.
Young's lawyers unsuccessfully tried to halt the punishment by suing the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, arguing a white Texas inmate received a rare commutation earlier this year as his execution neared but Young unfairly was denied simply because of his race.
The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals refused to stop the punishment, agreeing with a federal judge in Houston who hours earlier had dismissed a lawsuit Young's legal team filed against the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
The panel last week rejected a clemency plea where the prisoner's lawyers argued he was "no longer the young man he was when he arrived" on death row, that he was "truly remorseful" and that Patel's son did not wish the execution to take place.
Lawyer Jeff Newberry said he would not take the case to the US Supreme Court.
'I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT DEATH ROW'
Young and his lawyers argued he no longer was a Bloods street gang member, had matured in prison and hoped to show others "look where you can end up."
"I didn't know about death row," Young said from prison. "It needs to be talked about. You've got a whole new generation. You've got to stop this, not just executions but the crimes. Nobody's talking to these kids. I can't bring Hash back but I can do something to make sure there's no more Hashes."
According to court documents, Young sexually assaulted a woman in her apartment with her three young children present, then forced her to drive off with him in her car. She managed to escape, and records show he drove one block to the Mini Food Mart where owner Patel was shot during an attempted robbery. He was arrested 90 minutes later after picking up a sex worker and driving to a crack house where the stolen car was parked outside and spotted by San Antonio police.
From prison, he denied the sexual assault, although court records said DNA tests confirmed the attack.
He said he shot Patel in the hand and the bullet careened into Patel's chest, killing him. The surveillance camera recorded both video and audio of the shooting and two customers in the parking lot identified Young as the shooter.
VICTIM'S FAMILY DIDN'T AGREE WITH EXECUTION
Mitesh Patel, whose father was killed by Young, has said he supported Young's clemency bid because "nothing positive comes from his execution" and carrying out the punishment would leave Young's three teenage daughters without a father.
He had met privately with Young in prison on Monday - the first time the pair had met in person.
"I don't agree with the state's choice to execute him," he told the San Antonio Express-News after the meeting.
Young said the shooting stemmed from a dispute he believed involved the mother of one of his three children and Patel. The woman, however, lied to him, he said.
"He was not a bad dude at all," Young said. "I was drunk. We knew the victim. The whole confrontation went wrong. I thought he was reaching for a gun and I shot."
Young's execution is the eighth this year in Texas, one more than all of last year in the nation's busiest capital punishment state. It's the 13th execution in the US this year.
At least seven other Texas inmates have execution dates in the coming months.