HUNTSVILLE—Wednesday was full of angst for Mark Stroman, a Texas inmate who called himself the "Arab Slayer." It was the date for his scheduled execution.
Stroman was sentenced to death after being convicted of killing two, and injuring one, Middle Eastern men in the weeks following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Wednesday morning, Stroman was allowed to meet with family and friends for the final time.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Jason Clark said, "He was very personable and very talkative. We talked about his last meal and he was interested in making some phone calls."
Attorneys for both Stroman and the lone survivor of his 2001 killing spree, Rais Bhuyian, fought for Stroman's life on Wednesday in the courtroom.
Southern Methodist University Professor Rick Halprin helped guide Bhuyian through the extensive appeal process.
"I've become a very good friend of Rais," Halprin said, "and I have been in correspondence with Mark. We tried as long as we could and as hard as we could to save a human beings life."
After unsuccessfully appealing to the Dallas County District Attorney's Office and Texas Governor Rick Perry, his appeal for Stroman's clemency was again denied Wednesday evening by a federal judge.
Groups from across the state, including Dallas'a TCADP Chapter, came to Huntsville to protest the execution and what they said was a violation of victim's rights.
Jessica Chan said, "People are always saying I support the death penalty because it's what the victims want. Well, Rais is a victim, he's a survivor. And, he's forgiven Mark Stroman a long time ago."
Gloria Rubac agreed, "The victims in this case are asking for the execution to stop and Governor Perry is totally ignoring them. So, it's a falsehood that it's for victims. When a man who happens to be Muslim and not white says I'm the victim and I don't want an execution, he's ignored by the governor."
For Stroman, Bhuyian and their supporters, the day became increasingly painful, waiting for the decision in this unfruitful last minute effort to save Stroman's life.
Halprin said, "If there's any failure because of this execution, it rests with the state and not with those who tried to save Mark's life."
Stroman was executed by lethal injection. His time of death was 8:59 p.m.
Before his death, Stroman was allowed to make a final statement:
"Even though I lay on this gurney, seconds away from my death, I am at total peace. May the Lord Jesus Christ be with me. I am at peace. Hate is going on in this world, and it has to stop. Hate causes a lifetime of pain. Even though I lay here, I am still at peace. I am still a proud American, Texas loud, Texas proud. God bless America. God bless everyone. Let's do this damn thing. Director Hazlewood, thank you very much. Thank you everyone. Sparky, I love you, all of you. I love you, Conna. It's all good. It's been a great honor. I feel it, I am going to sleep now. Goodnight. 1, 2, there it goes."