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A jury found Young guilty of capital murder in February 2006 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence in April 2009. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
In a recent interview with a reporter from Death Row, Young denied sexually assaulting Edwards, even though court records stated that DNA tests gave evidence of his guilt. He also denied that he attempted to rob Patel and stated that he did not intend to kill him. He said the mother of one of his children lied to him about Patel, who he knew, and he went to the store to confront him.
"He was not a bad dude at all," Young said. "I was drunk. We knew the victim. The whole confrontation went wrong. I thought he was reaching for a gun and I shot." Young said that he shot Patel in his hand, but the bullet ricocheted into Patel's chest.
Young said that when police arrested him, "I didn't know I had killed an individual. I didn't know I was wanted for capital murder."
Young also gave some interviews that were posted to YouTube on a channel called Law at the Margins. He stated that he wanted "to show people how a person can change." He apologized to his family for what he put them through and hoped they could "appreciate who I am now."
Young said that he joined the Bloods gang when he was about 8 years old, after his father was shot and killed in a robbery. He said that as part of a gang, he was on "a collision course" with death. "I didn't have any appreciation for life," he said. He credited being sent to Death Row for saving his life by helping him to get over his anger and forcing him to give up alcohol and drugs.
If he had not gone to Death Row, Young said, "I would probably be in prison anyway. I would probably be dead ... I really think the chances were high I would be dead."
"Death Row has saved my life," he said, reiterating the point.
Leading up to Young's scheduled execution, advocates for him, including Patel's now-36-year-old son, Mitesh, petitioned the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Greg Abbott for clemency, saying that Young was a changed man.
In February, Texas' parole board recommended that Governor Abbott commute another prisoner's death sentence to life. Thomas Whitaker was convicted of hiring the murder of his mother and brother. The parole board's recommendation was based, in large part, on an appeal for mercy from Whitaker's father, who Whitaker also attempted to have killed, but survived. It was the first time the parole board has recommended commuting a condemned prisoner's death sentence based on an appeal from a victim or member of a victim's family. Governor Abbott accepted the recommendation and commuted Whitaker's sentence to life without parole.
On the Friday before Young's scheduled execution date, the parole board rejected his clemency request. In response, death penalty attorney David Dow filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, alleging that board members granted Whitaker's petition but denied Young's because Whitaker is white and Young was black. Race "appears to be the driving force in this case," Dow's court filing stated. State and federal courts turned down this last-ditch effort to halt Young's execution.
In his last statement, Young said he loved his victim's family "like they love me."
"Make sure the kids in the world know I'm being executed and those kids I've been mentoring keep this fight going," he said.
The lethal injection was then started. As the drug took effect, Young swore and said "I taste it in my throat." He said something incomprehensible as he went unconscious. He was pronounced dead at 6:38 p.m.
By David Carson. Posted on 18 July 2018.
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, court documents, Associated Press, cbsnews.com, Law at the Margins.