Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cleve Foster's Long Last Meal Lag

Many death row inmates get to pick a special last meal, which is then eaten 8 to 12 hours before their execution in most cases. But in a rare set of circumstances, Texas convict Cleve Foster chose and ate his "last meal" over 18 months before his execution.

Foster's first date with death was in January of 2011. He had already eaten his special last meal request (two whole fried chickens, French fries, and a five-gallon bucket of peaches) and was just minutes away from execution when he was granted a stay. Foster was given two more execution dates in 2011, but got another stay each time. He wasn't served a last meal on either of those occasions, although he came awfully close to getting a plate of chicken and nachos at the third failed execution attempt.

Today, however, Foster's luck finally gave out. Foster was finally executed in Texas, and since the state did away with special last meal requests in September 2011, he was unable to order another mountain of chicken and peaches. Instead, Foster was given the same meal as everyone else on the cell block - barbecue sandwiches, Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots, and sliced bread.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Game Over for Robert Wayne Harris

A person's last words should be meaningful. Important. Something that strikes a chord with readers when that statement is reprinted in the evening paper. But not everyone seems to realizes this.

Some condemned men confess their guilt before their execution. Some quote Bible verses, or poetry, or apologize to the families of their victims. But a growing trend these days is to give a shout out to your favorite sports team just before the lethal injection takes effect. Robert Wayne Harris, executed today in Texas, was the latest to give his home team a verbal high-five.

"I'm going home. I'm going home," Harris said. "Don't worry about me. I'll be all right. God bless, and the Texas Rangers. Texas Rangers."

While the absence of a few key words left his final sentence grammatically incorrect, Harris's meaning was clear: Go Texas Rangers! (most likely the baseball team and not the law enforcement agency)

Since Texas did away with special last meal requests in 2011, Harris was served the same meal as all the other inmates. He ate chicken patties, carrots, green beans, pinto beans, and mashed potatoes.

Palmer Pigs Out on Peasant-Style Potluck

Not many death row inmates can navigate a menu with the flair of a well-heeled socialite; even in states like Ohio, where the last meal choices are fairly generous, inmates still tend to gorge themselves on fast food or sugary sweets.

Donald Palmer continued that tradition today prior to his execution in the Buckeye State. Palmer, who was convicted of shooting two complete strangers to death in 1989, asked for the following last meal; chipped ham, Velveeta cheese, 12 ounces of mayonnaise, two sliced fresh tomatoes, one loaf of wheat bread, one bag of ranch flavored Doritos, two large bags of peanut M&Ms, one quart of hazelnut ice cream, one piece of plain cheesecake, and six 20-ounce bottles of Coke. He supposedly ate everything except for the M&Ms.