Texas Board Rejects Clemency Plea for Chris Young and Solidifies Tonight's Death Sentence

UPDATE: July 18, 2018 at 8:13 a.m. ET:

Mitesh Patel, the victim’s son and Chris Young’s advocate did not want the same outcome for Young’s daughter—losing a father. But the state of Texas executed Young on Tuesday anyway. He was pronounced dead at 6:38 p.m. after a lethal injection.

Patel did meet Young on Monday in an emotional meeting and felt sadness for his family.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Patel has said. “Killing Chris doesn’t change my path, my history. It only affects a whole other set of people.”

Young used his last moments to tell his victim’s family he loves them and to keep fighting.

Young’s final statement: “l want to make sure the Patel family knows I love them 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. I’m good, Warden.”


The Texas Board of Pardons unanimously rejected clemency for Chris Young, the reformed death row inmate, and lawyers say it is because Young is Black. The law says the board doesn’t have to give the public a reason for their decision, but they have to certify it’s not because of race.

Not too long ago the board unanimously granted clemency and a life sentence in place of execution to a white inmate, Thomas Whitaker, who was convicted in the planned deaths of his family in 2003 to get inheritance money. His father, who survived his injuries, was his biggest advocate.

Young’s lawyer, David Dow, said in the recent filing, “Both Whitaker and Young were transformed. Both expressed genuine remorse. Both were forces of positive good in prison. And perhaps most significantly of all, the closest surviving relatives of the murders opposed the execution.”

“This vote is most likely explained by a single variable — a variable the Constitution precludes decision-makers from taking into account: race,” Dow wrote, citing the criminal justice system’s history of racial disparities.

The legal team additionally has asked for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to allow a stay of execution so Young and Mitesh Patel, the victim’s son and Young’s advocate, can meet. “Doing so will demonstrate the same spirit of mercy that Mr. Patel has so courageously shown.”

Attorney General Stephen Hoffman said against the claims of racism that that Young’s case was weaker than Whitaker’s, and that lawyers left out previous misdemeanor convictions, an alleged sexual assault before Patel’s murder, the fact that Young was the killer where Whitaker was a conspirator and disciplinary reports from death row.

Lawyers pointed out no disciplinary records were on file past 2012.

Texas has only stopped an execution three times since 1998, while 400 others went on as planned.

Related Story: Son of Murder Victim Pleads for the Black Man’s Life as Texas Decides Today Whether or Not to Execute Next Week

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