Patrick Murphy has practiced Pure Land Buddhism for ten years, and says he wants to have his spiritual advisor present to chant with him while he dies.
Texas prisoner Patrick Murphy, 57, is scheduled to be executed this evening for aiding in the murder of a police officer. Murphy has been denied his request to have a Buddhist priest with him during the exeuction.
Update, March 29, 2019: The Supreme Court has halted the execution.
A month ago, Murphy requested that he have his spiritual adviser, Rev. Hui-Yong Shih, beside him during the execution so they could chant prayers together as he dies. Murphy has practiced Pure Land Buddhism for ten years. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) denied the request because it only allows employees in the death chamber during executions. The department only employs Christian and Muslim chaplains.
On Tuesday, Murphy filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to stay his execution until he can have a priest present with him. A judge denied the motion to stay on the grounds that Murphy had waited “until the eve of his execution” to make his request. Murphy has appealed the decision.
In 2000, Murphy escaped from a Texas prison with six other prisoners. Weeks after the breakout, Murphy served as a lookout while the other escapees robbed a sporting goods store, leading to a deadly shootout with a police officer. Murphy was sentenced to death for his role in the killing.
Murphy’s lawyers have also filed an appeal to stop the execution because Murphy did not commit the murder and wasn’t present at the shootout.