Mir Aimal Kasi was executed by injection tonight, nearly a decade after he opened fire outside CIA headquarters, killing two people and wounding three in what he said was a protest of U.S. policies toward Muslims.
Kasi, 38, who fled to Pakistan and Afghanistan after the killings and eluded the FBI and intelligence officials for 4 1/2 years, was pronounced dead at 9:07 p.m. at the Greensville Correctional Center.
Strapped to a stainless steel table, Kasi entered the death chamber at 8:58 p.m. and uttered familiar words for the last time: "There is no god but Allah." He then softly began chanting in his native language of Urdu as the poison killed him.
Kasi spent his last few moments with FBI special agent Brad Garrett, who tracked him down in Pakistan and testified against him at trial. Garrett visited Kasi on death row several times over the past five years.
"He prayed up until the last minute," Garrett said after the execution.
Until the end, Kasi maintained that his motive was noble, but he apologized to the families of his victims. "He was sorry he hurt people," said his attorney, Charles R. Burke.
Outside the prison, television and newspaper reporters assembled amid heightened security. The crowd included several journalists from Pakistan, who said the case has been covered extensively in the media there, and crews from the Arab TV station al-Jazeera. No victims or family members of those Kasi killed attended.
Kasi's execution -- the state's fourth this year -- marked the end of one of Virginia's highest-profile capital cases. FBI and CIA officials never found evidence that Kasi was linked to a terrorist organization. But terrorism experts said his actions, on a bitterly cold winter morning, were an early sign of the growing anger among radical Muslims toward the United States.
The U.S. State Department has warned that Kasi's death could result in retaliation against Americans abroad. Even before the execution, there had been virulent anti-American protests around Kasi's home town in Pakistan.
"Is he a Paskistani hero? No. But I hope he doesn't become one after the execution," Ibrahim Malick, a reporter with the Pakistan-based South Asian Dispatch Agency, said as he waited to cover the execution.
Officials at the Pakistani Embassy agreed. "He is not a political personality nor is he a leader," said Asad Hayauddin, an embassy spokesman. "In Pakistan, if he had committed this crime, essentially the same type of punishment would have been awarded. By and large, the people understand."
Just before 8 a.m. on Jan. 25, 1993, Kasi, armed with a AK-47, calmly strode along a line of cars waiting to turn into CIA headquarters in Langley. He fatally shot Frank Darling, 28, who worked in CIA covert operations, and Lansing Bennett, 66, a physician and CIA analyst. The wounded were Calvin Morgan, 61, an engineer; Nicholas Starr, 60, a CIA analyst; and Stephen E. Williams, 48, a telephone company employee.
Authorities named Kasi as a suspect soon after the killings, but he already had fled to Pakistan. The FBI launched an international manhunt. On June 15, 1997, Kasi was detained in a hotel room near the Afghanistan border, and he was later returned to the United States to face trial in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
Kasi was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to death. During his trial, prosecutors said Kasi told FBI agents he carried out the attacks to "teach a lesson" to the United States.
At Greensville, Kasi spent his last day praying and meeting with his spiritual adviser and two brothers who traveled from Pakistan. He spoke to other family members in Pakistan by phone and ordered fried rice, bananas, boiled eggs and wheat bread for his final meal.
Burke said his client spoke out against retaliation but still strongly believed that the United States mistreats the Muslim world.
"He believes in fighting the United States, but he's sorry for the injuries to the individuals," Burke said. "His attack was against the United States. He talks about how we, the American people, don't understand them and exploit them."
About 8 p.m., Burke said, Kasi asked if they could finish up their final conversation. "He recited the Koran and prayed from 8 o'clock until just before 9," Burke said.
In a series of media interviews over the past several days, Kasi said he continued to believe strongly in what he did. After agreeing to speak to The Washington Post, Kasi changed his mind.
In his last days, Kasi spoke on the phone to Frank Darling's brother and apologized. He also asked Garrett to relay a message of apology to Bennett's family, a source close to Kasi said.
About midafternoon today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Kasi's final appeal. Soon after, Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) rejected Kasi's request for clemency, which had been supported by the Pakistani government.
"Mr. Kasi has admitted to the crimes for which he was convicted and shown absolutely no remorse for his actions," Warner said in a statement. "After a thorough review of Mr. Kasi's petition for clemency and the judicial opinions regarding this case, I have concluded that the death penalty is appropriate in this instance."
Government officials had warned of possible reprisals several times during Kasi's criminal case. A day after his conviction, four U.S. oil executives were killed in Pakistan, and U.S. officials speculated at the time that the slayings were retaliation for the trial.
Some terrorism experts said Kasi's death could spark violence. This week, hundreds of angry university students belonging to a conservative Islamic group protested in the streets of Multan, Pakistan, chanting anti-American slogans.
Thomas J. Badey, a political science professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., said Kasi's fate has become a "rallying cry" among some in the Muslim world.
"There's a feeling that the United States is perpetuating anti-Muslin sentiments," Badey said. "The execution of Kasi lends credence to that. Looking back, we could see him as the beginning of a larger pattern of violence."
CIA Director George J. Tenet said in a statement: "Today, our thoughts are with our two colleagues who were murdered . . . as well as the three others who were wounded that day. They and their loved ones will always be a part of our family."
Darling's widow, Judy Becker-Darling, and other family members said that they planned to spend today praying and that they hoped there would be no retaliation.
"The tragic death of Frank Darling through an act of terrorism destroyed a beautiful love story and marriage," the family said in a statement. "The justice system of the USA and the state of Virginia performed and have been heard."
Staff writer Patricia Davis in Washington contributed to this report.