Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Breaking News: Texas 'Arab Slayer' Executed
Stroman had been on death row at the TDCJ's Polunsky since April 2002, when he was convicted of killing a Dallas-area convenience store clerk from India during a shooting spree that he said was in retaliation for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Even though I lay on this gurney, seconds away from my death, I am at total peace," Stroman said a few miniute before his death, adding that he was "still a proud American, Texas loud, Texas proud." The former day laborer said hate in the world needed to end, said he loved his friends, and asked for God's grace shortly before receiving a lethal injection less than an hour after his final court appeal had been rejected.
"God bless America. God bless everyone," Stroman said. "Let's do this damn thing ... One, two, there it goes." Eleven minutes later he was pronounced dead.
In October 2001, Stroman went on a shooting spree throughout the Dallas area, killing two men, 49-year-old Vasudev Patel, an immigrant from India, and Waqar Hasan, an immigrant from Pakistan, and severely wounding Rais Bhuiyan, a native of Bangladesh. It was for the murder of Patel that Stroman was put to death.
Stroman claimed that he was motivated to kill people from the Middle East because of the September 11 terrorist attacks. None of his victims, however, were Arabs or from the Middle East.
Witnesses to the execution included five of Stroman's friends and a police officer who attended on behalf of Patel's family.
Bhuiyan had unsuccessfully attempted to have the execution halted, asserting that his Muslim religious beliefs required him to forgive Stroman. Bhuiyan had also requested to spend time with Stroman so as to learn more about why he had launched his rampage. Stroman shot Bhuiyan in the face with a shotgun, blinding him in one eye.
"Killing him is not the solution," Bhuiyan said. "He's learning from his mistake. If he's given a chance, he's able to reach out to others and spread that message to others." Unmoved by appeals to Muslim mercy, the courts denied his requests.
Stroman's execution was delayed for almost three hours while a state judge in Austin considered Bhuiyan's lawsuit to block it, until the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals barred him from doing so (see the chapter "Cruel Justice" in Texas Confidential for the Texas high courts hard line on death penalty cases). Earlier in the day the U.S. Supreme Court had rejected appeals in the case.
Stroman's claims of patriotism notwithstanding, he was a career criminal who commmitted his first armed robbery at age 12. He had previous convictions for burglary, robbery, theft, and credit card abuse, had served two terms in prison, and was free on bond for a gun possession arrest when he murdered Patel and Bhuiyan.
Stroman's execution was thus far the eighth in Texas in 2011 and at least another eight more are scheduled to meet their fates in the state's death chamber this year.