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Friday, 5 April, 2002, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
Death for 11 Sept revenge killer
Sikh protestors
There were several racist attacks after 11 September
A Texan man who shot dead an Indian immigrant in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks has been sentenced to death.

Mark Stroman told police that he killed Vasudev Patel, the owner of a petrol station in Texas, last October because he wanted vengeance for the attacks on New York and Washington.

He is also charged with killing a convenience store owner and wounding a third man - both of them Pakistanis.

There were several reports of revenge attacks on Muslims and members of ethnic minorities in the West following the events of 11 September.

Flying the flag

Stroman, 32, holding a small American flag, showed no reaction when the sentence was read. But as he stood up to be led out of court, he saluted in the direction of the bench and said, "Thank you, judge".

Mohan Singh, general secretary of the Council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Birmingham.
Sikhs think they were attacked because they reminded people of Bin Laden

The Dallas-area stone worker, who was convicted on Tuesday of capital murder, could have received a life prison term.

"It is the correct verdict," said Mukesh Patel, the victim's brother-in-law. "We pray for him."

In his closing arguments, prosecutor Greg Davis pointed to the victims' families as he argued for the death penalty:

"They had the American dream and believed in the ideals of this country and that's why they left their own countries," he said. "But those dreams were wiped out because this man here had another dream. His dream was to kill them all."

Stroman gunned down Patel, aged 49, on 4 October in the gas station he owned in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, where Stroman lived.

Muslims targeted

Stroman said he had singled him out because he looked like someone of Muslim descent.

A Palestinian-American participates in a candlelit vigil in New York
Arab-Americans were horrified by the suicide attacks

"I'm not a serial killer. We're at war. I did what I had to do. I did it to retaliate against those who retaliated against us," Stroman said in a television interview in February.

"He is so full of hate. He said he has skin allergies against people like us. I'm happy he was found guilty so quickly by the jury," Mukesh Patel said after the conviction.

Stroman's lawyers did not dispute that he had killed Patel, but they said he did not enter the petrol station with the intention of killing the owner.

But prosecutors pointed to a surveillance tape of the murder, which they said showed Stroman was a cold-blooded killer.

Stroman has been charged with killing a Dallas-area convenience store clerk, Waquar Hassan, on 15 September. He is also suspected of shooting another store clerk, Rais Uddin, who was injured during a robbery attempt.

Both men were Pakistani.

See also:

17 Sep 01 | Americas
A community under siege
18 Sep 01 | Americas
Bush condemns 'revenge attacks'
18 Sep 01 | Americas
US trials of Muslims delayed
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