Updated July 20, 2011 (11:45 a.m.): A federal judge today heard Rais Bhuiyan's lawsuit pursuing a stay of execution for Mark Stroman, a man who shot Bhuiyan in the face and killed two others seeking revenge for the 9/11 attacks.
The judge is expected to have a decision by early this afternoon.
Stroman is scheduled to be executed tonight.
Updated July 18, 2011 (4:15 p.m.): A Travis County judge today sent Rais Bhuiyan's lawsuit seeking a stay of execution for the man who shot him in the head to federal court for further action.
Bhuiyan is suing Gov. Rick Perry, claiming his rights as a victim are being violated by the state's plan to execute Mark Stroman, who was convicted of murdering three others in 2001 and shooting Bhiuyan. Perry had filed a petition asking the judge to send the lawsuit from state court to federal court.
Khurrum Wahid, Bhuiyan’s lawyer, said the change of venue will not affect Stroman's execution.
Wahid said Perry's petition to move the case to federal court conflicts with Perry's stances against federal intrusion into state government. "We were surprised that the attorney general of Texas would want to remove this case from the control of the people of Texas to the federal government," he said.
The case will be presented in front of a federal judge on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
This story has been updated to include a response to the lawsuit from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Rais Bhuiyan is suing Gov. Rick Perry to stop the state from executing the man who shot him in the head nearly 10 years ago.
“I never hated him,” Bhuiyan said at a press conference this morning. “ I was never angry at him.”
Bhuiyan, a naturalized American citizen who moved to the United States from Bangladesh and now lives in Dallas, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday claiming that Texas would violate his rights as a victim by proceding with the scheduled execution of Mark Stroman on July 20. Bhuiyan, the sole survivor of the September 2001 Dallas convenience store shooting spree, believes that Stroman is reformed and wants Perry to halt the execution.
On Sept. 21, 2001 Stroman, a methamphetamine addict suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, walked into a Dallas convenience store and went on a rampage after his half-sister was killed in the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers.
“Out of pure anger and stupidity I did some things to some men from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia — and now I sit on Death Row awaiting execution,” Stroman wrote on his blog, “And by no means am I proud of what I have done.“
Stroman shot four people, and only Bhuiyan survived. The gunshot felt like a million bees hitting his face, he said. But even as blood poured down the side of his head, he said he never lost hope that he would survive. Now, he's hoping that by pursuing his rights as a victim he can help Stroman survive.
“I grew mentally and spiritually over the years,” Bhuiyan said, “and I realized hate does not bring anything but fear.”
He hopes if the execution is stayed that Stroman will speak out against hate crimes and advocate for peace.
Lucy Nashed, a Perry spokeswoman, said Wednesday that his office was unaware of the lawsuit. To grant clemency for Stroman, she said, the governor would need to receive a favorable recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Bhuiyan is also suing Brad Livingston, executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; Angi McCown, director of TDJC victim services division; and Rissie Owens, chairwoman of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
TDCJ spokeswoman Michelle Lyons, in an emailed statement, said the agency's Victim-Offender Mediation program offers an opportunity for crime victims to meet with their perpetrators. The victim must meet certain eligibility requirements and both the victim and offender must complete a screening and counseling process, which takes 4 to 6 months.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to accurately reflect Rais Bhuiyan's nationality. The initial story inaccurately stated his national origin.