U.S. Executes Pakistani Man in Va.

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A Pakistani man who gunned down two CIA employees outside the agency's headquarters was executed under tight security in Virginia, while armed soldiers patrolled the streets in his hometown in Pakistan to guard against retaliation.

No violence had been reported by Friday evening.

Aimal Khan Kasi, given a lethal injection, softly chanted ``There is no God but Allah'' until he lost consciousness Thursday night at the Greensville Correctional Center.

His execution focused international attention on the tiny town of Jarratt, where security around the prison was greatly increased in response to warnings from the State Department that his death might put Americans in danger. After Kasi's conviction in 1997, four Americans were shot to death in Karachi, Pakistan.

State troopers accompanied Kasi into the death chamber. Two correctional officers with shotguns stood on each side of the road near the prison entrance, and several armed officers were posted in front of the prison.

Kasi, 38, told The Associated Press last week he had no regrets about the 1993 killings but did not want any retaliation for his execution. Kasi's family near Quetta, Pakistan, also pleaded for calm.

Kasi killed CIA communications worker Frank Darling, 28, and CIA analyst and physician Lansing Bennett, 66, as they sat in their cars at a stoplight in McLean. Three other men — another CIA analyst, an engineer and an AT&T employee — were wounded as Kasi shot into a row of stopped cars with a semiautomatic AK-47 rifle.

He fled the country and spent most of the next 4 1/2 years hiding in and around the city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. He was caught in a hotel while visiting Pakistan in 1997 and was returned to the United States.

Kasi confessed to the slayings during the return flight, saying he was angry over CIA meddling in Muslim nations.

One of the prosecutors who helped convict Kasi witnessed the execution.

``I'm satisfied that justice was done,'' said Raymond F. Morrogh, Fairfax County chief deputy commonwealth attorney.

Also present for the execution was FBI agent Brad Garrett, who was on the investigative team that found Kasi in Pakistan.

Garrett told CBS' ``Early Show'' Friday that he agreed to come to the execution because Kasi had asked him, adding that talking to suspects was part of his job as an agent. ``Was Mr. Kasi an interesting person to deal with? Absolutely. Did he have a bad side and a good side? Absolutely.''

He said Kasi felt somewhat apologetic toward victims' relatives but was ``not remorseful about the act itself.'' He also said he was inclined to believe Kasi's claim that he acted alone.

Kasi spent Thursday in a cell a few feet from Virginia's death chamber. He met with two of his brothers, his attorneys and his spiritual adviser, corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said.

For his last meal, he requested fried rice, bananas, boiled eggs and wheat bread, Traylor said.

No family members of the victims attended the execution.

About 80 death penalty opponents held a candlelight vigil in a field near the prison. Bundled against the cold, they read the names of the 87 people Virginia has executed since capital punishment was reinstated in 1982, along with their victims. A Muslim cleric read a prayer in English and Arabic.

Hours before the execution, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal and Gov. Mark R. Warner denied a request for clemency, saying Kasi had ``shown absolutely no remorse for his actions.''

Some Pakistani politicians pleaded with American officials to spare Kasi's life, saying commutation could ``win the hearts of millions'' and help the United States in its war on terrorism. Hundreds of religious students protested in Pakistan this week, warning Americans there that they would not be safe if Kasi was executed.

In Kasi's hometown of Quetta on Friday, an extra 2,000 heavily armed paramilitary troops patrolled the streets.

The family of Judy Becker-Darling, widow of Frank Darling, hoped for calm.

``We will spend time in prayer for Kasi, that God will have mercy on his soul, for his family, that there be no terrorism reprisal, and for world peace,'' the family said in a statement.

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