MEDIA ADVISORY: MARK STROMAN SCHEDULED FOR EXECUTION
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott offers the following information about Mark Anthony Stroman, who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 20, 2011. Stroman was convicted and sentenced to death in a Dallas County court for the robbery and murder of Vasudev Patel.
FACTS OF THE CRIME
On October 4, 2001, Stroman shot and killed Patel during an attempted robbery at a Mesquite gas station that Patel operated. A store security camera captured the attempted robbery and murder.
When Stroman entered the station early that morning, he demanded money from Patel. Patel reached for a .22 caliber pistol that he kept under the cash register, but he did not retrieve it. Stroman then shot the unarmed Patel in the chest, causing Patel to fall to the floor. The surveillance video showed that while Patel lay dying on the floor, Stroman was unable to open the cash register. Stroman demanded that Patel “open the register or I’ll kill you."
Stroman later described the robbery and shooting, and his motives and preparation for it to a fellow prisoner, who testified at Stroman’s trial that Stroman told him he had “been in the store two or three times previously to check it out and he didn’t see any cameras.” Stroman admitted that he intentionally killed Patel with a .44 chrome-plated “big long pistol.”
Angry at people of Middle Eastern Descent following the September 11, 2011, terrorist attacks, Stroman’s killing of Patel was the last of a series of violent crimes that he committed against those whom he considered to be of Middle Eastern background.
On September 15, 2001, Stroman murdered Waqar Hasan by shooting him in the head as Hasan grilled hamburgers in his Dallas store. Stroman later told a fellow-prisoner that his murder of Hasan was his ninth crime of this type. Stroman also demonstrated racial motives for the killing, and stated that he was a member of a prison gang, had a .44 pistol and some automatic weapons, and intended to go to a shopping mall and start shooting everybody because of all of the Middle Eastern people there.
On September 21, 2001, Stroman shot and wounded Raisuddin Bhuiuian as Bhuiuian worked in a convenience store and service station. Unlike the murder of Patel, the crimes against Hasan and Bhuiuian did not involve robbery. Stroman admitted to all of these crimes and lacked remorse for any of them, claiming that he had performed a patriotic duty. Regarding his murder of Patel, Stroman told the fellow-prisoner that his country “hadn’t done their job so he was going to do it for us.”
On November 15, 2001, Stroman was indicted by a Dallas County grand jury for the capital murder of Vasudev Patel. A jury found Stroman guilty of capital murder on April 2, 2002. On April 4, 2002, after a separate punishment hearing, the court sentenced Stroman to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Stroman’s conviction and sentence on November 19, 2003. The U.S. Supreme Court denied Stroman’s petition for writ of certiorari on June 28, 2004.
Stroman filed a state application for writ of habeas corpus in the trial court on November 13, 2003. The trial court entered findings of fact and conclusions of law recommending that Stroman be denied relief. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals adopted the trial court’s findings and conclusions and denied Stroman habeas relief on July 27, 2005.
Stroman filed a federal habeas petition in a Dallas federal district court on July 24, 2006. Stroman filed an amended petition on September 29, 2007. On August 21, 2008, a magistrate issued findings, conclusions, and a recommendation that Stroman’s amended petition be denied. On September 28, 2009, the federal district court denied the amended petition and dismissed the action with prejudice. Stroman then sought permission to appeal this decision. On December 27, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied Stroman permission to appeal. Stroman filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court on March 30, 2011. The Supreme Court denied the petition on June 27, 2011. During the last week of June 2011, Stroman filed a petition for clemency with the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole.
EVIDENCE OF FUTURE DANGEROUSNESS
During the punishment phase of his trial, the State presented substantial evidence of Stroman’s future dangerousness. The State first presented testimony regarding the murder of Hasan and the attempted murder of Bhuiuian.
Next, the State showed that, as a juvenile, Stroman was convicted of aggravated robbery, car theft, and burglary of a habitation at least twice. A psychological evaluation of Stroman revealed that, starting at the age of nine, he had stolen bicycles and cars, sold and used drugs, run away from home, and was disruptive in school.
The superintendent of Collin County Juvenile Detention Center testified that Stroman did not succeed on juvenile probation. He stated that Stroman did not take advantage of any programs to help resolve his drug use. The superintendent described Stroman as troubled and in need of guidance and counseling.
A Dallas police sergeant testified that he arrested Stroman for possession of an illegal switchblade knife on September 20, 1985.
On November 15, 1989, a Dallas police officer arrested Stroman after finding him in possession of brass knuckles, a prohibited weapon under Texas law.
As an adult, Stroman was convicted of burglary and sentenced to two years in prison for ransacking a man’s house and stealing rifles, jewelry, clothes, and checks. The victim never got his property back, and Stroman drained the man’s bank account by writing hot checks. At the same time, Stroman was also sentenced to two years in prison for theft from another individual.
On November 6, 1990, Stroman robbed a woman of her purse outside an auto parts store and began to buy items with the woman’s credit cards. Stroman was convicted of robbery and sentenced to eight years in prison. Stroman was also convicted of two counts of credit-card abuse and received two additional eight-year sentences to run concurrently.
On July 14, 2001, Stroman was arrested for carrying a firearm in an establishment that sold alcohol. Stroman was indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon as a second offender but was released from jail on bond on July 16, 2001. Stroman began his murder spree while out on bond.
The State presented evidence—testimony and letters/writings from Stroman while he was in pre-trial detention—demonstrating that he is a devout white supremacist with antipathy towards those of other races. A defense expert also read a letter Stroman wrote in which he described his anger about September 11th and explained why he went on a murder rampage afterwards. Stroman called the murders “patriotic” and acts of retribution against Arabs.
For additional information and statistics, please go to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website, www.tdcj.state.tx.us.