Texas inmate executed after Gov. Perry rejects parole board’s clemency recommendation

By Michael Graczyk, AP
Thursday, November 19, 2009

Texas executes inmate after Perry refuses reprieve

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Robert Lee Thompson has been executed for his part in a fatal Houston store holdup after the Texas governor rejected a parole board’s recommendation to spare him because he wasn’t the gunman.

Thompson was an accomplice to triggerman Sammy Butler when 29-year-old store clerk Mansoor Bhai Rahim Mohammed was gunned down 13 years ago.

Butler received life in prison. A jury gave 34-year-old Thompson death.

Thompson’s lawyer told the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles that Thompson’s punishment was not fair and the panel voted 5-2 to recommend his sentence be commuted to life.

Gov. Rick Perry was not obliged to follow that recommendation.

The execution was carried out Thursday evening less than an hour after Perry’s decision.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Gov. Rick Perry refused to spare a man facing execution Thursday evening for his role in a fatal robbery, rejecting a parole board recommendation that the death sentence of 34-year-old Robert Lee Thompson be commuted to life in prison.

Perry’s decision came about 30 minutes before Thompson was set to be taken to the Texas death chamber for lethal injection. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles made the rare recommendation for Thompson on Wednesday. He was not the triggerman in the fatal shooting of a Houston convenience store clerk 13 years ago.

The shooter, Sammy Butler, was convicted and received life in prison.

Perry was not required to follow the recommendation of the board, whose members he appoints.

“After reviewing all of the facts in the case of Robert Lee Thompson, who had a murderous history and participated in the killing of Mansoor Bhai Rahim Mohammed, I have decided to uphold the jury’s capital murder conviction and capital punishment for this heinous crime,” Perry said in a statement. “There is no reason to set aside the capital murder conviction handed down by a Texas jury and upheld by numerous state and federal courts.”

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