Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Texas Executes 400th Person

Texas carried out its 400th execution today since 1982, when the state resumed executions after an 18-year moratorium.

Houston Chronicle:

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Convicted killer Johnny Ray Conner was executed Wednesday evening for the slaying of a Houston convenience store clerk during a failed robbery 9 1/2 years ago.

The execution was the 400th in the nation's most active death penalty state since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. Texas resumed carrying out executions six years later.

Conner asked for forgiveness repeatedly and expressed love to his family and his victim's family, who watched him through windows in the death chamber. Before he began he speaking, he asked the warden his name, for permission to speak longer than the usual two to three minutes allotted and to have his victim's daughter pointed out to him.

He specifically asked one of his victims' relatives to look at him, but she didn't and remained turned to the side with her hands clasped in prayer.

"This is destiny. This is life. This is something Allah wants me to do," he said in his lengthy statement.

"I want you to understand," he said. "I'm not mad at you. When I get to the gates of heaven I'm going to be waiting for you. Please forgive me."

"What is happening to me is unjust and the system is broken," Conner said.

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