US executes Indian-origin man’s killer despite clemency appeal by victim’s son

Christopher Young
US executes Indian origin mans killer despite clemency appeal by victims son
Christopher Young

HOUSTON: A 34-year-old man convicted of killing an Indian-origin businessman in 2004 has been executed in the US state of Texas despite a clemency appeal by the victim’s son. Christopher Young, who was a member of a gang, had shot at Hasmukh ‘Hash’ Patel while attempting robbery at his mini-mart and dry cleaner store in San Antonio, Texas 14 years ago.
Patel, 50, had died of the bullet injury, local media reported. Young, who was 21 at the time of the incident, was convicted and awarded death sentence by a local court in February 2006. He was executed, days after his clemency appeal was unanimously rejected by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Last month, Young’s aunt and lawyers launched a campaign to seek clemency for him. Patel’s son Mitesh, 36, had also supported the campaign, Texas Tribune reported. “He (Young) has educated himself, become grounded in his religion, actively parents his daughters, and mentors troubled young people beyond the prison walls,” said his lawyers, Jeff Newberry and David Dow, in a joint statement last month upon filing his clemency petition to the parole board.
Mitesh had urged the parole board that the death sentence of his father’s killer be reduced to a prison term or temporarily halted. He attended a small rally and said Young’s execution would not “take us toward any positive outcome”, according to the report. He said that over time, he was able to forgive Young for killing his father. Young’s compassion for his daughters was a main reason he spoke out against the execution, Mitesh added.
Mitesh lost his father in his early 20s, and Young was only 8 when his father was murdered as well, according to the clemency petition. Mitesh has said he does not want Young’s daughters to grow up without a father, too, and mentioned Young’s work on death row trying to help other people. “He actually has a desire to break the chain of other people possibly in his shoes from continuing down that path,” Mitesh was quoted as saying in the report.
Young’s case garnered widespread attention, in part due to a social media campaign and his video interviews on death row. An online petition started by the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty supporting Young’s clemency petition had garnered more than 23,000 signatures as of early last afternoon. “I want to make sure the Patel family knows I love them like they love me,” Young said in his final statement, likely referring to Patel’s son who opposed the execution. “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 was quoted in the report. PTI

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