Texas Inmate Executed for Killing of Shop Owner With Sedative: 'I Taste It in My Throat'

A Texas death row inmate has been executed for murdering a store owner in 2004, despite pleas from the victim’s family for clemency.

Christopher Young, 34, was put to death by lethal injection. He was administered pentobarbital at a facility in Huntsville.

He was convicted of the murder of San Antonio convenience store owner Hasmukh "Hash" Patel during an attempted robbery in November 2004.

Young admitted shooting Patel, but denied intending to kill him during the robbery, which took place after Young drank nearly two dozen beers and had taken cocaine, reports Associated Press. He had also sexually assaulted and carjacked a woman on the same night.

In his final words, Young apologized to the victim’s family. “I want to make sure the Patel family knows I love them like they love me,” he said.

“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."

After being administered the lethal injection, Young reportedly complained that it was burning his throat. "I taste it in my throat," he said.

RTX6BOW0 Christopher Young is shown in this undated handout photo provided July 16, 2018. He has now been put to death for the 2004 murder of store owner Hasmukh "Hash" Patel. Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Handout via REUTERS

Young was pronounced dead at 6:38 p.m. CDT, around 25 minutes after he was first administered the dose.

Patel’s family had opposed the execution of Young, with the pair knowing each other before the fatal robbery in 2004.

“I really do believe Chris Young today is not the person he was 14 years ago," the victim’s son, Mitesh Patel, said prior to Young’s execution, reports CNN. "It's really unfortunate that the board didn't hear our request for clemency. I feel sadness for his family. They're going to be walking down the same path my family has been on the last 14 years."

Anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean also condemned the decision to execute Young. “Over many years working against the death penalty, I’ve often heard the argument that executions bring closure and justice to victims’ families,” she said.

“What about families who don’t want an execution? They are ignored by prosecutors, judges and politicians. Where’s the justice for them?

Elsewhere, nearly 55,000 people signed an online petition urging “mercy” for Young.

A week before he was put to death, Young's request for clemency was rejected by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. David Dow and Jeff Newberry, attorneys for Young, filed a complaint in federal court after the board rejected his appeal because Young is black, reports KSAT 12.

The appeal was rejected by a Houston judge the day before he was put to death.

In a video for civil rights group Law At The Margins, Young described how being in death row had saved his life.

“I truly believe if I would not have come to death row when I did, I would be one of two places: in prison or murdered in the streets,” Young said.

“If I would have gone straight to prison with the attitude I had, my growth process would not have started, and my gang-banging ways would still be there. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to look at myself and tell myself I was doing wrong. I wouldn’t have been able to help anybody.

“I’m truly sorry for the crime I committed. There’s nothing I can do to bring back Mr. Hash Patel. If I knew taking my life would do that, I’d volunteer for it without any complaints.

“But that’s not going to do it. I can teach others to think about their actions. I’m sure I can stop something like this from happening again."

Young is the eighth person to be executed in Texas this year and 12th overall in the U.S., according to the Death Penalty Information Center.