Texas Executes Man for Robbery-Slaying

Charles Anthony Nealy
Charles Anthony Nealy

A man was executed Tuesday night for fatally shooting a convenience store owner during a robbery in Dallas nearly 10 years ago.

From the death chamber gurney, Charles Anthony Nealy blamed a more than 20-minute delay in his execution on technicians' inability to find a suitable vein to carry the lethal chemicals.

He also wished his friends and relatives well in a lengthy statement. 'I'm not crying, so y'all don't cry,' he said. 'Don't be sad for me. I'm going to be with God and Allah and Momma.'

Nealy, 42, was pronounced dead at 7:20 p.m., seven minutes after the lethal dose of drugs began. He was the ninth inmate executed this year in the nation's most active capital punishment state.

Nealy had at least three previous convictions for aggravated robbery. He insisted he was in Oklahoma the night of Aug. 20, 1997, when a convenience store in Dallas was robbed of about $4,000 and the store owner and a clerk were gunned down.

Nealy was convicted of killing 25-year-old Jiten Bhakta, the owner. His nephew, Claude Nealy, who was 17 at the time of the slayings, is serving life in prison for killing 25-year-old Vijay Patel, the clerk.

Bhakta's brother, who was also at the store, identified the gunmen.

In appeals to the federal courts, lawyers for Charles Nealy alleged that prosecutor misconduct and false testimony led to Nealy's conviction and death sentence. Nealy won a reprieve from the state's highest criminal court three days before he was scheduled to die in November. State courts subsequently rejected the claims.

Hours before Nealy was scheduled to die, his lawyers also tried to raise claims in the federal courts that Nealy was mentally retarded and therefore ineligible for execution, but state attorneys said the attempt was improper and incorrect.