Death Watch: Chris Young Executed
Last-ditch effort to challenge Board of Pardons and Paroles falls short
Despite last-minute efforts to save his life, Chris Young was executed Tuesday evening. On Friday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied him clemency, which included pleadings from Mitesh Patel, the son of the man Young killed in 2004, during a botched robbery.
Young's attorneys filed a complaint in federal court on Friday arguing that the BPP's decision violated the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The 170-page complaint compares Young's case to that of Thomas Whitaker, whom the Board unanimously recommended clemency for in February, the first in Texas since 2007. The cases were similar because both men were supported by their victims' families: Whitaker's father, who Whitaker planned to have killed alongside his mother and brother, petitioned the BPP to spare his son's life.
Friday's filing alleged racism was to blame for the decision and requested a stay of execution so that Young's counsel could examine the BPP members "under oath and ascertain whether what appears to be the driving force in this case was in fact the driving force." U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison considered the complaint on Monday, but denied the stay. Young, he wrote, failed to meet the "stringent criteria" for the issuance of a stay. Hours before Young's execution, his attorneys made a final plea to Gov. Greg Abbott to issue a 30-day reprieve, again in order to determine if racial bias played a role in the board's ruling. That reprieve never came. He's the 553rd Texan to be executed since 1976, and the eighth in 2018.