SAN ANTONIO – In less than 24 hours, a 34-year-old East Side man is scheduled to be executed.
Christopher Young admits he was drunk and high when he went into an East Side convenience store, then robbed and murdered the owner, Hasmukh Patel, 14 years ago.
“There are times when I can actually be sitting there typing a letter and feel the needle in my veins,” said Christopher Young, contemplating the moment he'll be executed. “I just found out the Texas Court of Appeals has denied my case.”
If you were to ask the 6-year-old version of Christopher Young what he’d be doing with his life at the age of 34, being a death row inmate scheduled to die by lethal injection would’ve never come to mind.
“I was considered a nerd. I played four instruments," he said. "I played violin, viola, bass, the cello."
But Young says after his father died, he began using drugs, drinking alcohol and hanging around gangs.
“I embraced the roughness, looking for a name for myself,” Young said.
On Nov. 21, 2004, he made a choice he regrets. Young said it began as an attempt to confront the 55-year-old store clerk about an alleged argument the clerk had with his girlfriend at the time.
“But because of me being drunk, it turned into a robbery. I wasn’t even trying to kill an individual. I wasn’t trying to kill 'Hash' that day. It just happened,” Young said.
Young is often visited by family, including his aunt who brings kids from her church. Young uses the opportunity to mentor them, hoping they won’t follow in his footsteps.
“Until I’m gone, this is what’s going to be done. That’s why I have the hope,” Young said. "It’s all psychological. They’ve got to really feel comfortable in themselves. You got to help them get rid of their insecurities, get rid of their complexes, get rid of that materialism.”
The father of three hopes his message of positivity resonates, but most importantly, he says he wants lawmakers to understand the factors that contribute to youth ending up in situations like his.
“The east side shouldn't be like it is," Young said. "It shouldn't be impoverished like it was."
Still, Young says he's not making excuses for the choices he's made, and in the end, knows he must accept the consequences.
“The only way to triumph over death is to make your life a masterpiece,” Young said.
The execution is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in Huntsville, which is approximately four hours from San Antonio.
When asked what his last statement will be, Young said he didn’t know. He wants it to come from the heart.
The victim's son, Mitesh Patel, has asked for Young's life to be spared.
“His execution means that another family will lose a son, and another child will lose a father,” Mitesh Patel told KSAT.