A Texas man, who killed two Muslims and injured a third only days after 9/11 as "revenge," is set to be put to death on Wednesday in Texas. But one unlikely supporter of Mark Stroman is trying to stop the execution -- the victim who survived Stroman's bullets.
On September 15, 2001 and again on October 4, Stroman killed two Muslim men, attacks that he said were fueled by "patriotism." In between those murders he shot a man named Rais Bhuiyan in a convenience store. Bhuiyan survived 35 shotgun pellets to the face, but he is blind in one eye after enduring pain that he likens to "a million bee stings."
Despite that horrific experience, Bhuiyan has mounted a campaign to spare Stroman's life, ironically because he is a Muslim.
"My faith teaches me that saving a life is like saving the entire human race," he has told media outlets.
Relatives of the two dead victims are also joining in the fight. They have written letters begging for Stroman's sentence to be converted to life in prison without parole. So far, though, they have not gotten support of public officials.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles will consider the petition for clemency or a stay of execution. But odds are against Stroman and his supporters -- the board has voted for clemency just once in the last 10 years, a period when the state carried out a record 231 executions.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry's said the governor has not expressed an opinion on the case.
According to Business Insider, Perry has commuted the death sentences of 31 inmates during his decade in office. However, 28 of those involved cases in which the defendant was a juvenile at the time of the crime. Two other defendants were ruled mentally handicapped. In the final case, the defendant was only driving the getaway car after a murder, and was not the actual killer.
Stroman has a long criminal history dating back to his childhood. The Associated Press says: Stroman had previous convictions for burglary, robbery, theft and credit card abuse and served at least two earlier prison terms, one for two years and another for eight. He was paroled twice, prison records show. He had a juvenile record that included an armed robbery at the age of 12.
Finally, Stroman says much of his anger of 9/11 occurred because his sister was inside the World Trade Center and killed during the 9/11 attacks, but the Daily Mail reports that the claim could never be substantiated.