Saturday, March 22, 2003

March 20, 2003


Last Meal: four pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, two pints of ice cream, bacon cheeseburger and two vanilla cokes

The skinny: Clay was executed for the killing of store clerk during a $2,000 robbery of a convenience store. The victim had come to the United States from India a year earlier.

Bad guy: Clay acknowledged being a drug dealer but he denied participating in the killing. Prosecutors also linked Clay to the fatal shootings of three people, including two children, on Christmas Eve in 1993. He denied any role in the killings and was not tried, but a companion was sent to death row for the crime.

Last words and such: Clay asked God to "forgive me of every single solitary sin I have committed." He also asked for forgiveness from three members of his victim's family, who watched through a nearby window. "I am truly sorry, and there is not a day that I have not prayed for you," he said. Turning to his mother, he said, "Let everyone know that I love them." She flashed him two thumbs up just before the drugs took effect.

Picking up steam: It took nearly 13 years for Texas to reach 100 executions, four years to get to No. 200 and now, as the appeals process has become more streamlined, just over three years to reach the 300th.

Factoids: Clay's injection keeps Texas on a pace to surpass the record 40 lethal injections carried out in 2000.

Texas accounts for more than one-third of the 839 executions in the United States since 1976 when the death penalty resumed under a Supreme Court ruling.

Texas easily leads the nation in executions since the historic ruling, followed by Virginia with 87; Missouri, 60; Oklahoma, 58; Florida, 55; Georgia, 31; South Carolina, 28; Louisiana, 27; Alabama, 26; and Arkansas, 24.