Texas

A Texas Man Is Executed Even After His Victim's Family Pleads for His Life

"His execution doesn't change what he did 14 years ago. It doesn't bring my dad back."

|

|||Screenshot via YouTube/Law at the Margins
Screenshot via YouTube/Law at the Margins

A 34-year-old Texas man became the 13th prisoner to be executed in the United States in 2018, but not before the family of his victim fought for him to receive clemency for his 2004 crime. Fourteen years ago, 21-year-old Christopher Anthony Young of San Antonio sexually assaulted a woman at gunpoint in front of her three children and stole her vehicle. Young then made his way to a convenience store owned by 55-year-old Hasmukh "Hash" Patel. He pulled out his gun and demanded money. The attempted robbery turned fatal when Young shot Patel, who tried to run away. Police found Young the next morning, and he was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death by a Bexar County judge in 2006.

Since that time, a diverse group of people have worked to obtain clemency for Young so that he could instead serve life in prison. Among those trying to get Young off death row was his victim's own son, 36-year-old Mitesh Patel. Patel, who once planned to watch Young's execution, became a prominent voice in the fight for Young's life after seeing his remorse.

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Young and Patel each explained their respective change of hearts. According to Young, he stopped placing the blame on others and took responsibility for the actions that led him to death row. "And that's a hard realization," he added. As Young's thinking began to change, he was contacted by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Laurence Thrush for a project about David Dow, the capital defense lawyer representing Young. The project eventually fell through. Despite this, the men grew to have a relationship that inspired Thrush to make a video with the intent of saving Young's life.

It was the videos captured by Thrush that led Patel to have his own realization.

"I assumed he was a typical death row inmate with no remorse," he said. For the younger Patel, watching Young and learning about the influence he had in the lives of his daughters "struck a chord." Patel did not wish to see Young's children go through the same pain he did after losing his father, a sentiment that he repeated in an interview with NowThis.

"We'd rather see some good from all of this," he told the Chronicle. "His execution doesn't change what he did 14 years ago. It doesn't bring my dad back."

A week before Young's execution, Patel joined faith leaders and other advocates in a rally at San Antonio's main plaza. The rally was paired with a clemency petition that asked Texas Governor Greg Abbott to either halt Young' execution or grant him life in prison. While speaking to the crowd, Patel said that he forgave Young. He also spoke of Young's mentorship to younger people. "He actually has a desire to break the chain of other people possibly in his shoes from continuing down that path," he said. "My family and I would rather see that come to fruition because that speaks better to what my dad stood for."

Other calls for Young's life were paired with concerns about religious and racial discrimination. A black juror was barred from sitting on the jury because of her service in her Baptist church's ministry. Religious leaders said the action was discrimination on the grounds of religion and lawyers argued that the move violated the Constitution's Free Exercise and Equal Protection Clauses. After Young was denied last-minute clemency, lawyers also argued that there was a racial component to his case. Drawing comparisons to another case of white Texas killer Thomas "Bart" Whitaker, whose father asked for clemency after surviving an attempted murder at the hands of his son, many, like Houston-based attorney Randy Schaffer, wondered if the commutation that spared Whitaker's life "is a policy that only applies to the white and privileged who make a religious plea."

Young was injected with a fatal dose of compounded pentobarbital on Tuesday at 6:13 p.m. He passed away 25 minutes later. Patel remained at home with his family.

Among his final words, Young said, "l want to make sure the Patel family knows I love them like they love me."

Advertisement

NEXT: After Slapping Allies With Tariffs, U.S. Drags Allies to WTO to Complain About Tariffs

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The criminal justice system needs fixing in the USA but it that was fixed, I would zero qualms with saving taxpayer money and executing murders.

    1. The death penalty actually costs more money than life in prison without parole. One citation (pdf).

      1. Yep. The appeals process for death penalty cases are extremely expensive.

      2. You know what else costs more money?

      3. 1) People spend too long on death row and get too many appeals, so the costs are inflated from that.

        2) Executions should be carried out immediately after all appeals are completed.

        As I said the system is broken and people dont get fair trials. If that were fixed, then give the defendants convicted and sentenced to death by juries their compliment of appeals that should be fast tracked through the courts (like 30 days appeals) and then quickly execute the people if their cases are not reversed.

        Prison populations would also be shrunk by not imprisoning victimless offenders.

        1. 1) People spend too long on death row and get too many appeals, so the costs are inflated from that.

          Right.

          2) Executions should be carried out immediately after all appeals are completed.

          And how would that save money?

    2. The problem is, I don’t (and I doubt you do either) trust the Government to properly engineer a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, let alone get it right on the subject of “who should be killed”.

      1. That’s my stumbling block. The government is pretty inept at everything.

        1. So the alternative is shutting doem the crinsl justice system?

  2. He should have had remorse before he shot his victim. Too bad, so sad.

  3. I don’t shed tears for murders. Give Satan my regards.

  4. Murderers aren’t executed to ‘bring back’ their victims. They aren’t even executed to avenge their victim. They are executed for the rest of us – so that we don’t have to live in a world with them alive in it. Capital punishment is justice in action, in the same way that a jury trial is justice in action.

    “Christopher Anthony Young of San Antonio sexually assaulted a woman at gunpoint in front of her three children and stole her vehicle. Young then made his way to a convenience store owned by 55-year-old Hasmukh “Hash” Patel. He pulled out his gun and demanded money. The attempted robbery turned fatal when Young shot Patel, who tried to run away.”

    This man deserves to die, and we, as citizens, deserve to see him dead, as soon as possible. Justice demands it.

    1. Does that mean that the fact that many murderers are not executed is an injustice?

      I don’t have a moral objection to killing murderers, but I have no confidence in the state doing it in a consistent or just manner.

      1. “I don’t have a moral objection to killing murderers, but I have no confidence in the state doing it in a consistent or just manner.”

        This 1,000 times.

    2. They are executed for the rest of us – so that we don’t have to live in a world with them alive in it.

      Let me know what I need to do to live in a world without any death penalty defenders alive in it.

      1. End human life, or move to another planet with nobody else on it.

        Or, well, get used to people disagreeing with you, like a goddamn adult.

      2. Because people who disagree with you are on the level as killers

  5. While speaking to the crowd, Patel said that he forgave Young

    Hasmukh Patel was unavailable for comment.

    1. It is completely immaterial whether or not the family forgives the murderer. It is up to the victim of the crime to forgive. But in the case of murder, the (primary) victim isn’t around to grant forgiveness.

      1. Just because a family member of the victim claims to not want the murderer to be put to death, their claims need to be scrutinized since it is not unusual for members of the criminals family or organization,etc to have threatened or bribed said family member

  6. Fuck yeah, libertarians for the death penalty!

    1. I see no libertarians defending the death penalty.

      1. Rule of Law is absolutely fine with Libertarians.

        Cathy L and you are not Libertarians, so there’s that.

        1. So, ypu’re ok with the Fugitive Slave Act as any law should be supported no matter how immoral it is?

          1. No one said that. Is the Rule of Moral Law more palatable to you?

        2. Rule of Law is absolutely fine with Libertarians.

          Not only is that not true, but the concept of the rule of law is a myth.

          Cathy L and you are not Libertarians, so there’s that.

          I’m not a member of the Libertarian Party, that’s true. I’m also not a Republican like yourself. I’m sure you vote and I’ll bet you vote almost exclusively for Republicans. Is that right?

          1. “Myth, ideal, what’s the difference, right?”

            That anon writing for Mises was not convincing, and reminds me why the Mises site is nowhere near my to-read list*.

            Ideals are useful and matter; “rule of law” is an incredibly useful ideal, as long as we remember that it’s an ideal.

            The same goes for, say, Rothbard’s anarchism.

            Hayek has the huge advantage of proposing plausibly real-world options that equally displease the fanatics by not being pure idealism.

            (* Despite having read Mises himself, and Hayek, and Rothbard, and Nozick.)

            1. No, the NAP is an ideal. The “rule of law” is an impossible myth.

          2. That article is talking about a society in which the government is allowed to initiate force. It would not hold water in one in which that is not allowed.

    2. Are we required to oppose it, because you’ve decided that is the One True Libertarian Position?

      1. I don’t know who you are or what your positions are, but at the time I posted I really didn’t see any libertarians defending the death penalty, only people who have repeatedly demonstrated that they’re conservatives and don’t give a shit about self-ownership or the NAP.

    3. Well it is a retaliatory use of force.

  7. At no time in this article (or anywhere else I can gather) is there any protestation from the murderer that HE DIDN’T DO IT!

    So in answer to questioning the state’s ability to administer the death penalty, I understand. But in this particular case, THERE IS NO FUCKING QUESTION!

  8. We have no use for an animal such as this. Drop him like a rabid dog.

    1. So why not the victim’s family get to dispense justice?

  9. Illinois paroles man who murdered 5 people in 1972

    So much for life in prison is punishment enough.

    1. Yea and even in life in prison they will get just as many expensive legal do overs so there is no cost savings between the death penalty or life in prison. that said if life in prison actually meant life in prison I’d be okay but as you show its not.

      1. I seem to recall a few months ago the case of a woman who beat her own 4 year old child to death. Years later she not only gets paroled, but gets a scholarship to an Ivy League school. Which they rescinded over objections from some even on this board. Way more heinous than some guy who shoots a store clerk.

      2. Tell that to Ross Ulbricht.

  10. This isn’t a good thing.

    Assuming there’s been a fair trial, and guilty is determined, the next of kin ought to be the one “repaid” the life that the murderer stole.

    Or, the NOK could “forgive” the debt of the murderer. Or they could demand something other than full repayment.

    No third party (the State) ought to have any authority to come between the NOK and murderer and DEMAND that the murderer die. The third party (the State) is NOT the harmed party, and has no legitimate say here.

    If the NOK desires clemency, the murderer should get it, period.

    The State never fails to be evil.

    1. Because the next of kin could never be influenced to say such a thing by the murderer’s henchmen.

      1. That is possible, no doubt. Then again, the State actors could have the same thing happen to them. And State actors have a bigger incentive to capitulate as they don’t actually care.

        So, at best, you’ve found a potential problem that’s already worse with the State (in)justice system.

      2. My objection would be the NOK often IS the murderer.

        And if everyone hated old Uncle Joe, they’d probably say drop the hammer.

        1. The next in line would have to decide.

          And if they hate him, then don’t act like a jerk and murder your own family.

    2. “Let’s just assume that the only model of justice that can be accepted is reparation, and that the only reparation party is the next of kin” is kind of a big set of assumptions, no?

      1. No assumptions.

        Justice is repayment to the victim. If the victim is dead, then the repayment goes to the nearest one to the victim (NOK).

        If you don’t like that definition, I’m reasonable. Give me a better one.

    3. So, if the NOK commits the murder, the NOK gets to forgive the debt he incurred as heir to the debt, because no third party has a right to come between the NOK and the murderer. If the NOK desires clemency, the murderer should get it, period.

      “I’m an orphan!” cried the man who killed his parents, and he was set free . . .

      1. “So, if the NOK commits the murder”

        It would go to the next in line…

        Next!

  11. I don’t care

  12. Bye!

  13. The government has a monopoly on the dispensation of justice, we have rules everybody must follow and if you don’t follow the rules you get punished, so the victim of a crime doesn’t get to decide what the punishment should be. That’s because the victim of the crime wasn’t really the victim, society is the victim. It’s society that is harmed by people not following the rules. The guy wasn’t executed for murdering a shopkeeper, he was executed for breaking the rule against murdering people.

    This is the same mentality that leads to punishment for victimless crimes like drug use, prostitution, gambling, etc. You don’t have to harm somebody to be punished, you’re being punished for not following the rules we’re all supposed to be following. It’s like being flagged for pass interference when the play’s going the other way – you broke the rules and it doesn’t matter if the rule-breaking had any effect on the play.

    For my part, I think the “society’s the real victim here” is bullshit. You come into my house and steal my TV, that TV may cost you your life or an assortment of broken bones or you may get a free TV. You go to Walmart and that TV’s gonna cost you $400, but you ain’t at Walmart, you’re in my house and I’m the one who sets the price on a TV. You come into my house to share your drugs with me, well, who is anybody else to decide what the price of that should be, either?

    1. Correct, and don’t forget that society =/= government.

    2. I’m perfectly happy with letting the victim of the crime limit the punishment . . . if the actual victim is available to be consulted. The next-of-kin is not the victim of a murder.

      1. So, your idea of the NOK is the State?

        That seems much worse…

      2. Actually they are victims as well. You can’t tell me that Adam Walsh was the only victim in that murder,

    3. Minor point: if the pass is not to the receiver you are covering there is no pass interference. A ball needs to be catchable for there to be pass interference.

  14. The state prosecutes and decides the punishment.
    I thought Justice was supposed to be blind.

    1. Take a life, lose a life. Sounds like justice to me.

  15. I’m not a death penalty fan but have we heard from the kids who watched their mother get raped?

    1. Their howls for the rapist’s head on a pike didn’t fit The Narrative.

  16. Hey! Where’s the simpering article for Robert Van Hook–he was executed today. He weepily said he was sorry too.

    But he killed a gay man. So no space wasted on him.

    Hey, lotta bullshit about how Patel wanted clemency.

    What about the woman he raped in front of her kids? Was she asking for clemency? Did she want the raping murderer to use any more of the air that rightfully belongs to people who don’t rape and murder their way through the world?

    I don’t care about their excuses. I don’t care that being caged made them find some god. I care that they breathed one second after they were convicted of stealing someone else’s life and snuffing it out.

    Both of these fuckers had YEARS more life than they allowed their victims. And that is not right.

    And to you retards whining that we shouldn’t give the state such power–well, we tried that. See, before the rule of law if someone hurt someone you cared for you went and took care of it yourself. Might made right. The reason we agreed to put this power into the hands of the state is because sometimes, might is very, very wrong.

    Is it perfect? No. Is it better than getting beheaded because someone wants your stuff? Absolutely.

  17. Although not in itself a capital offense, what does the sexual assault victim say?

    To be a libertarian does not automatically mean one loses his humanity. I don’t have any problem with people who advocate for the death penalty, but I don’t see it as naturally or unnaturally libertarian.

    Personally, I am a sucker for redemption stories. More importantly, I also have limited faith in the criminal justice system’s ability to recognize much less correct its own mistakes. The death penalty effectively eliminates those two possibilities altogether. Any act the state can make that is as final and irreversible as an execution is not something I support.

  18. I’m against the death penalty partly due to the cost, partly due to not trusting justice system enough. But mostly I just want pieces of shit like this guy, or Mumia Abu Jamar, to rot ignored in prison rather than become celebrities for an anti-death penalty movement.

  19. Libertarians should be for capital punishment, at least in cases where it’s obvious the person is guilty

    Prisons are a huge and arguably unnecessary part of government. Their use should be minimized, capital punishment for murderers and no jail for non-violent crimes.

  20. I find the victim’s families pleas for clemency compelling. But the reason the state is the enforcer of the law, rather than the victim’s family ( as is actually done in some countries) is to make sure that justice is impartial, and not carried out with either vengeance or pity.

    1. Nicely put.

  21. Did they get a quote from the woman he raped? How about from her kids who had to watch?

    Come on people. This is #metoo time. Or is that over now?

  22. Article avoids the main question — did the killer have any kids, and if so did the state “rip them out of his arms” when he was arrested? Did they cry and look pathetic?

  23. “A Texas Man Is Executed Even After His Victim’s Family Pleads for His Life”

    Families shouldn’t get to veto verdicts, whether it’s guilty or innocent.

  24. Was he on video murdering the guy? If so, don’t care. Kill him. The death penalty is bad because it might be killing the innocent.

    1. The alternative is the blood feud, which never kills innocents. /sarc

  25. The state has too much power as it is, even without a legal death penalty. The state already gets away with murdering innocent civilians without suffering any repercussion or accountability. Why would we grant them any more power?

    1. The state does not have this power plenarily. Judges and juries have to sign off on the penalty.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.