Everyone knows about the practice of allowing a death-row inmate their last statement before execution. But what I didn’t know, and you may not either, is that some of these are available for public viewing.
The speeches run the gamut from flat silence — having declined to say anything — to describing the feeling of the lethal injection taking hold immediately before death.
Some excerpts follow below; if you click the names you can find out about the crimes committed. I’ve bolded the bits that really chilled me:
Jerry Bird: “I don’t think so. That’s all. Go ahead. Start things rolling.” (Mouthed “Hi, Mom” to his mother.)
Jesus Romero, Jr.: When his attorney came into the witness room, he said, “Tell Mom I love her.” The attorney said back to him, “I love you, too.”
Jerry Lee Hogue: “Mindy, I’m with you, honey. I do not know why, Mindy, you are doing this, but I will still forgive you. You know he is a murderer. Why don’t you support me? He will do it again. Mindy, you are lucky you are still alive.
Give my love to my family. I love them. Mindy, you can stop this.
O.K., I’m ready.”
Michael McBride: [excerpt] “So, uh, I wanted you to hear me say that and I apologize and for any other grief I have caused you know, including the, ah, what you’re about to witness now. It won’t be very long. As soon as you realize that appear I am falling asleep. I would leave because I won’t be here after that point. I will be dead at that point. It’s irreversible. God bless all of you. Thank you.”
Clark, James: “Uh, I don’t know, Um, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know. (pauses) I didn’t know anybody was there. Howdy.”
Knight, Patrick: [excerpt] “I said I was going to tell a joke. Death has set me free. That’s the biggest joke, I deserve this. And the other joke is I am not Patrick Bryan Knight, and ya’ll can’t stop this execution now. Go ahead, I’m finished. Come on, tell me Lord. I love you Melyssa, take care of that little monster for me.”
John Alba: [excerpt] “Tell, everyone I love them. I’ll be OK. You will too. Remember what asked you. Give my love to the grandchildren. Tell Jake and Mia, Papa Alba loves them. Okay Warden, let’s do it, I love yall. I can taste it already. I am starting to go.”
Steven Woods: “You’re not about to witness an execution, you are about to witness a murder. I am strapped down for something Marcus Rhodes did. I never killed anybody, ever. I love you, Mom. I love you, Tali. This is wrong. This whole thing is wrong. I can’t believe you are going to let Marcus Rhodes walk around free. Justice has let me down. Somebody completely screwed this up. I love you too, Mom. Well Warden, if you are going to murder someone, go ahead and do it. Pull the trigger. It’s coming. I can feel it coming. Goodbye.”