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Texas executes man who says he killed for 9/11 revenge

By Karen Brooks

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas on Wednesday executed a man for killing a store clerk near Dallas in 2001 in what he had called a "patriotic" act of retaliation for the 9/11 attacks.

Mark Stroman, 41, was convicted of entering the store where Vasudev Patel was working on Sept 21, 2001, demanding money from the register, and then shooting him in the chest.

He admitted to at least three attacks in the weeks after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York and Washington, all on men he believed to be of Middle Eastern descent.

Stroman was given a lethal injection of drugs and pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m. local time, Michelle Lyons, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman, said.

"The Lord Jesus Christ be with me," Stroman said, according to Lyons. "I am at peace. Hate is going on in this world, and it has to stop. One second of hate will cause a lifetime of pain. I'm still a proud American. Texas loud, Texas proud. God bless America, God bless everyone."

His last meal included chicken fried steak with gravy, a ham-and-cheese omelet with onions and tomatoes, bacon, fried potatoes, fried squash and okra, pork chops with eggs sunny-side up, Dr. Pepper and a pint of vanilla Blue Bell ice cream.

Stroman was the 28th person executed in the United States this year and the eighth executed in Texas, the most active state in the nation in executing prisoners.

A survivor of one of the attacks, Raisuddin Bhuiyan of Bangladesh, had tried to convince courts to stay the execution, saying it was against his religious beliefs as a Muslim.

Stroman's execution was held up for two hours while judges heard the final appeals by Bhuiyan, who was shot in the face during the condemned man's post-9/11 shooting spree.

Stroman also admitted killing another man on September 15 and shooting Bhuiyan in the face days later, just weeks after the 9/11 attacks, according to a report by the Texas Attorney General.

Stroman thought all of the men were of Mideast descent and viewed the attacks as "patriotic" in defense of a country that hadn't done enough to protect itself from terrorism, according to a report by the Texas Attorney General's Office.

Bhuiyan and his lawyers have filed a lawsuit against Texas Governor Rick Perry, claiming Bhuiyan's rights as a victim were being violated because he never got to meet with his attacker or tell the court how he wanted Stroman punished.

Stroman indicated in news reports he was touched by Bhuiyan's actions on his behalf. But death-penalty advocates said the victim doesn't get to decide the punishment.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks. Editing by Peter Bohan)

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