By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas plans to execute a man on Tuesday for murdering a store owner during a robbery in 2004, despite calls from some relatives of the victim that the life of the inmate be spared as they have forgiven him.
The state is set to execute Christopher Young, 34, by lethal injection at 6 p.m. CT (2300 GMT) at its death chamber in the city of Huntsville for the murder of Hasmukh Patel at his convenience store in San Antonio.
If the execution takes place, Young would be the 13th U.S. inmate to be put to death this year, and the 553rd in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state. Texas has carried out seven executions so far this year.
Lawyers for Young, who is African-American, filed a last-minute appeal to halt his execution, arguing that race was a factor in the decision this month by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to deny a request to halt the execution.
A U.S. district court judge on Tuesday rejected the petition to spare his life, and lawyers for Young said they would appeal that decision.
Young's lawyers had noted that the board had recommended clemency in a similar case earlier this year that involved a white death row inmate, and that it should do the same with Young.
Those supporting clemency wanted the board to recommend a sentence of life in prison.
Texas contends that Young was convicted and deserved to die for the killing that came shortly after he had sexually assaulted and carjacked a woman.
"Young provides no direct evidence that any member of the Board acted with racial animus," Texas said in a legal filing.
The parole board has not commented on its decision to deny the clemency request, which was supported by the murder victim's son, Mitesh Patel.
Mitesh Patel said Young's contrition over the crime and his work to help others in prison were among the factors that led him and other family members to support clemency, the Texas Tribune reported.
Patel told a rally last week in support of the clemency bid that Young's execution would not "take us toward any positive outcome."
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney and Bernadette Baum)
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Updated Date: Jul 18, 2018 00:09 AM