'I love them like they love me': Death row inmate's last words for the victim's family before execution

The attempted robbery took place on November 21, 2004, and the entire incident had been captured on the CCTV cameras

                            'I love them like they love me': Death row inmate's last words for the victim's family before execution
(Source:Getty Images)

A death row inmate in Texas was executed on July 17, for the 2004 shooting and killing a convenience store owner in San Antonio, after courts turned down appeals that the parole board had rejected his clemency request because he was a black man. 34-year-old Christopher Young admitted to killing the man but had insisted he was drunk at the time and had not intended to kill 53-year-old Hasmukh "Hash" Patel.

The attempted robbery that took place on November 21, 2004, was captured on the CCTV cameras. At the time, Young was under the influence of two dozen beers and some cocaine. Young was asked if he had any final words. He replied: "l want to make sure the Patel family knows I love them like they love me." He also added, "Make sure the kids in the world know I'm being executed and those kids I've been mentoring keep this fight going."

As the fatal dose of pentobarbital was coursing through his veins, Young cursed out loud twice and kept saying that he could taste the substance and that it was burning. He said: "I taste it in my throat." He slowly slipped into a deep sleep after that and started saying unintelligible things as well as taking shallow breaths. The convict finally stopped moving after about 30 seconds and was pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m. CDT. It was 25 minutes since he had been given the lethal dose. Young was the 8th inmate to be sentenced to death in Texas this year, ACB13 reported.

His attorney sued the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles after the panel rejected his clemency plea last week in which they argued that he was "no longer the young man he was when he arrived" on death row.

The attorney also said that Young was "truly remorseful" and that Patel's family, especially his son, did not want Young to be executed. In a federal civil rights lawsuit that was filed by Young's attorneys, they argued that Thomas Whitaker, a white inmate in Texas, had been given a rare commutation earlier in the year when his execution had been nearing for the murders of his mother and brother.

David Dow, one of Young's attorneys, said that because his client was black and that race "appears to be the driving force in this case," they had appealed to delay the punishment. However, the lawsuit was rejected by a federal judge in Houston, who also refused to stop the execution. Hours later on July 17, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their plea. The attorneys did not take the case to the Supreme Court. 

An assistant Texas attorney general, Stephen Hoffman, said that the lawsuit had been a delay tactic and was improper, speculative, and "legally and factually deficient." Young and his lawyers had argued for some time that he was no longer a member of the Bloods street gang and that he had matured while in prison, and hoped to show others like him "look where you can end up."

In an interview to the Associated Press from inside prison, Young said: "I didn't know about death row. 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."

As per the documents submitted in the court, Young sexually assaulted a woman in her apartment while her three young children were present. He then forced her to drive away with him in her car; she somehow managed to flee. The records claimed that it was at this point that Young drove a block away to the Mini Food Mart where he shot dead Patel. He was arrested by the authorities 90 minutes later after he picked up a prostitute and parked the stolen car at a crack house.

Young continued to deny the sexual assault charges while he was in prison, although the DNA tests confirmed it. He also said that he had shot Patel in the hand and that the bullet had careened into the store owner's chest. The surveillance camera had recorded both video and audio of the fatal shooting, and two customers who were in the parking lot also identified the convict as the shooter. 

Mitesh Patel, the store owner's son, had said that he had supported Young's bid for clemency because "nothing positive comes from his execution." He also said that executing Young would leave his three teenage daughters without a father. He met with Young privately in prison on July 16, a day before the execution. He told the San Antonio Express-News later: "I don't agree with the state's choice to execute him."