Mark Ströman

Mark's tragic execution shows why Reprieve work is so vital. There are many more prisoners like Mark who still need our help. Donate now to defend prisoners facing execution around the world.  

Mark Ströman was a mentally ill man with addiction problems who had been abused from a young age. He was sentenced to death for a series of shootings in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.

Despite Mark’s surviving victim, Rais Bhuiyan, leading a campaign to save his life, Mark was executed by the state of Texas on 20th July 2011.

For six weeks a Reprieve team fought to save Mark’s life in Texas. Despite taking action in courts across America, we could not find one judge willing to stand up for Mark’s life. Instead, it was Rais Bhuiyan, Mark’s surviving victim, who spoke out alongside Reprieve against his execution and even went to court to prevent it.

Every second counts in the lead up to an execution – our team barely paused to eat as they travelled the length and breadth of Texas, tracking down jurors and witnesses. But in the end the state was determined that Mark should die.

“When I saw Mark, he was calm and peaceful. He said he knew Rais gave it a great, great fight. He said no one has ever done this much for him ever. He encouraged Rais to go on in his heroic efforts, changing the world, and changing Texans.”
Sophie Walker, Reprieve lawyer

Mark was born into a life of deprivation and abuse. His mother Sandra was an alcoholic who told him “you were just $50 short of being aborted, I wish I’d borrowed the money”. Mark was physically abused throughout his childhood by his stepfather.

Mark absorbed many lessons from his mother and stepfather – on violence, on racism, on paranoia, on substance abuse. He was first diagnosed with mental health problems before the age of 10 and again at age 13, but never received proper treatment. He was sentenced to death against the wishes of his victims’ families for a series of shootings in the aftermath of 11 September 2001, which left two men dead and one injured.

Sadly Mark never had the legal assistance he needed until it was too late. His court-appointed lawyer failed to properly present his background or his mental health problems, which should have disqualified him from execution.

Reprieve’s investigation revealed that at least one juror would never have voted for a death sentence if this evidence had been presented to her. Another said she would have voted against the death penalty had she known that the victims’ families did not want Mark to be executed.

 

Mark's tragic execution shows why Reprieve work is so vital. There are many more prisoners like Mark who still need our help. Donate now to defend prisoners facing execution around the world.

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