Death row Inmates' last words

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48 Responses to “Death row Inmates' last words”

  1. Tdawwg says:

    Then there’s this one:

    The reason it took them so long is because they couldn’t find a vein. You know how I hate needles. … Tell the guys on Death Row that I’m not wearing a diaper.

    An eloquent list, sad and unexpectedly moving.

  2. Alan says:

    TDCJ used to publish last meals as well. I forget why they stopped. I do remember the guy who cooked them was very serious about the job, and wanted to make sure the meal was done right. It’d be interesting to match up the last statements with the last meals.

  3. NeilFraser says:

    I’d be tempted to say:
    09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

  4. MrJM says:

    “The only statement I want to make is that I am an innocent man convicted of a crime I did not commit. I have been persecuted for twelve years for something I did not do. From God’s dust I came and to dust I will return, so the Earth shall become my throne.” — Cameron Todd Willingham, http://TexasExecutedAnInnocentMan.notlong.com

    – MrJM

    • mttmllns says:

      @MrJM Just finished the article about Cameron Todd Willingham (it was a long one). Incredibly frustrating, moving, and eye-opening. Thank you much for the contribution.

  5. nadyalev says:

    What a list, Mark.

    Here’s another one that left me with a similar feeling when I discovered it some years ago:

    http://www.planecrashinfo.com/lastwords.htm

  6. weaponx says:

    “Rosebud”

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thought experiment:
    Two buttons sit before you.

    Button One’s effects are unknown, but it is believed it would result in either:
    a) a lack of existence (aka – *poof*) OR b) absolute justice, as determined by some unbiased and/or omniscient force (aka – exactly what you deserve.)

    Button Two, on the other hand, guarantees that you will be imprisoned against your will, surrounded by psychopaths and sociopaths, living in fear for your safety while only given the bare minimum of sustenance. The time spent in this state is indeterminate – but at the conclusion, you will suffer exactly the same results as if you had pressed button one. (Button Two is really just button one with an indeterminate amount of psychological harm added to the front.)

    Why is Button Two more humane? Does the time delay outweigh the added suffering?

    Or is it a “moral illusion” because we don’t have to think about the death part. With Button One, the death is immediate, and in-your-face; you can’t whistle nonchalantly and pretend it isn’t happening. With Button B, all that suffering is in another town, behind concrete walls, very, very slowly. You never have to look at it, and even if you did, it’s happening so slowly, you’ll barely notice it. You’ll forget about it long before the creepy death stuff kicks in. If I didn’t see it, it isn’t inhumane? Right?

    Or is there something else? I know it feels more humane – it really does – but is it? If so, why?

  8. murrayhenson says:

    “My name is Sam Hall.”

  9. apoxia says:

    “Death row is full of isolated hearts and suppressed minds.”

    That one really got me.

  10. Holyfingers says:

    James Reynolds did a really interesting series of photographs of inmates last meals. Mmm, chewing gum and onions…

    http://www.jwgreynolds.co.uk/index.php?/last-suppers/

  11. Anonymous says:

    “I wish I could die more than once to tell you how sorry I am.”

    The bastard is moving.

  12. Fred H says:

    “I have come here today to die, not make speeches.”
    Hells yeah!

  13. Anonymous says:

    The Conceptual artist Luis Camnitzer recently exhibited a series of posters containing texts taken from letters written by Texas death row inmates. A NYTimes review of the exhibition is here: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9407EFD61438F932A25757C0A96E9C8B63

    A Google image search for “luis camnitzer last words” should provide ample illustration.

  14. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Carl Panzram: “Hurry it up, you Hoosier bastard! I could kill ten men while you’re fooling around!”

  15. knodi says:

    #30 – it’s time to make appeals, and to be as absolutely sure as you think you’re going to get.

    I used to be a staunch defender of the death penalty, but the whole “texas executed an innocent man” article made me change my mind.

    And mojave @2 – Fck yr bgtr. The overwhelming majority were almost surely guilty, just because a system makes mistakes doesn’t mean it ONLY makes mistakes. Stop blaming 7.8% of Americans for living near people you don’t like.

  16. Shelby Davis says:

    OH MY GOSH deckard68. I was using a black voice too.

    I feel kind of sick.

    “Manners of Dying” by Yann Martel is a good story along these lines. I recommend it.

  17. siliconsunset says:

    Maybe it’s because my name is Michael, but it especially bothers me when people shorten “microphone” to “mike”.

  18. Anonymous says:

    “I drank what?”

  19. nosehat says:

    “They may execute me but they can’t punish me because they can’t execute an innocent man.”

    Wow, it must suck to have your last words all planned out, and then flub the delivery.

    “My heart goes, is going, ba bump ba bump ba bump”

    That’s beautiful. Talk about experiencing the moment. That’s downright poetic.

  20. jsavitz3d says:

    Nike’s “Just Do It!” advertising slogan was inspired by Gary Gilmore’s final words, “Let’s do it.”

  21. MarkM says:

    – Yo, Death Row inmate, I’m really sad for you, and I’mma let you finish, but Gary Gilmore had the some of the best last words OF ALL TIME!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    “I appreciate the hospitality that you guys have shown me and the respect, and the last meal was really good.”

    That kinda touched me. Gratitude is a nice thing to have when you’re about to be put down…

  23. dbarak says:

    @ #15 posted by MarkM

    You win. Hands down, you win.

  24. Kyle Goetz says:

    @30

    I read your two buttons as “death penalty” and “life in prison.”

    A flaw in your reasoning is that the second button can be “unpressed,” which is one factor that makes #2 more humane than #1.

  25. dbarak says:

    @ #3 posted by NeilFraser

    The RIAA would sue you post-mortem.

  26. Cicada says:

    @30- Personal opinion, opposition to the death penalty has relatively little to do with the guy being executed for many people. It has to do with people who really, really, hate the notion of killing someone innocent.
    The years and years of imprisonment? Can’t let the guy go, because he’s probably guilty, but when he finally expires (from age or other inmates) the people who put him there don’t feel quite as guilty about it.

    Basically, people who are horrified by the notion of inadvertantly causing something irrevocable don’t like the death penalty. (As if a few years or decades in the clink isn’t irrevocable…)

  27. Cicada says:

    @23- Huh, weird. Had a “low-class” white voice in mind here. Strangely enough, not with a Texas accent.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel.
    Executed in electric chair in New York.
    ~~ George Appel, d. 1928.

  29. hugemonkey says:

    Most people who are pro-death-penalty believe that the government is completely incompetent in all cases except when it comes to killing it’s citizens (or other’s if you count that they are usually very pro-millitary as well).
    It is not an effective deterrent and it costs more to kill someone on death row than it does to keep them in prison for life and it can never be taken back. Mistakes have been made.
    It is really nothing more than revenge.
    Killing someone is sometimes OK in self-defense but once someone is locked up the threat is gone.

  30. Anonymous says:

    “I’d like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me. And the rest of the world can kiss my ass”
    Executed by injection, Texas.
    ~~ Johnny Frank Garrett, Sr., d. February 11, 1992.

  31. Anonymous says:

    “You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the Grim Reaper”
    Executed in California’s gas chamber.
    ~~ Robert Alton Harris, d. April 21, 1992.

    This one is a good one.

    http://www.goodquotes.com/famouslastwords5.htm

  32. Kieran O'Neill says:

    I wanted to talk about statistics and the kinds of nations which practice capital punishment, about ethics systems and the inverse golden rule, but I think Cave and Cash do a much better commentary upon this particular topic.

  33. antidistablishmentarianism says:

    @32, but Knodi, the System is a mistake!

  34. deckard68 says:

    Just after having read those, I realized that in my mind’s ear I’d used a black voice as I read each of those statements. This could be an interesting psychological study – to show people these and then ask them what kind of voice they imaged intoning them.

  35. x99901 says:

    here’s the original source for this material. i read through the whole thing a year or two ago.

    http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/executedoffenders.htm

  36. Anonymous says:

    As I started to read the txt at NYT.com, Pandora started playing “Nothing else Matters” by Metalica. Guys, I think the Internet is becoming aware- It’s trying to send this Texan a message. http://marchforabolition.org/

    P.S. @ deckard68 #23- I read it in my own voice (1/2 White, 1/2 Hispanic), and it creeped the Heck Out Me to think I could be the one getting the needle :/

  37. MrJM says:

    The voices in my head definitely had a “white trash” accent…

    Not so unlike my own…

    – MrJM

  38. Ernunnos says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG6VK0Ogke0

    Pixies got a song for everything.

  39. Anonymous says:

    That’s beautiful. Talk about experiencing the moment.

    Don’t make me barf. Anybody who thinks ritualized homicide is “beautiful” is broken in the head. This whole situation is made of fucked.

  40. Emma Byrne says:

    “As if a few years or decades in the clink isn’t irrevocable…”

    Irrevocable, yes, but there is still the outside chance of release:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birmingham_Six

    Post-mortem? Not so much…

  41. coldspell says:

    Arizona murderer/rapist’s last words: “Go Raiders.”

    http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/52421.php

  42. Anonymous says:

    The voices in my head all sound like Xenu.

    Oh, wait, wrong topic. Sorry.

  43. kyoorius says:

    I spidered that data a few years ago and put up this page where you can do keyword searches through the last meals and statements.

    http://www.datawhorehouse.com/deathrow/

    My favorite is G W Green who’s last words were

    “Lets do it, man. Lock and load. Aint life a [expletive deleted]?”

    That’s pretty hardcore.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I found this pretty moving until I went to the source (as posted above by @24) and begun reading into the crimes first. Some of these statements are somewhat out of context too. Fascinating none the less.

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