Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ferguson's Faux Final Feast is a Flop

It's unusual for us to post an article about the last meal of someone who's still alive, but almost everything about John Ferguson's case is unusual.

After an endless amount of legal wrangling that involved appeals, stays, lifted stays, then more stays, Ferguson’s execution in Florida was called off at the very last minute. The final stay came so late that Ferguson had already eaten his “last meal” and was headed for the execution chamber. Most of the appeals claimed that Ferguson was too mentally ill to be put to death. Among other odd behaviors, the convicted killer claims to be the “Prince of God” and believes that God will send him back to earth after his execution so he can save the United States from a Communist plot.

Those claims are definitely a bit nutty, but Ferguson’s mental instability was made glaringly obvious by what he chose for his last meal; a country-fried chicken sandwich and sweet iced tea.

If you’ve read our book, you already know that Florida offers one of the best last meal dining experiences in the entire prison system. Nearly everything is allowed, from choice cuts of beef to succulent seafood. The prison chef will shop for any unusual foods you have a taste for, with a generous spending limit of $40. Even the inmates who don’t place a special order are given a default last meal of steak and eggs. In other words, this is prison dining at its finest. Epicureans on vacation in Florida have actually found themselves pondering capital crimes just to get a taste of that fine jailhouse chow.  

To prove how elaborate a last meal in Florida can be, just look at the one ordered by Marvin Francois—John Ferguson’s accomplice—who was executed in 1985 for his part in six of the murders Ferguson committed. Francois ordered barbecued ribs, shrimp, fried chicken, lobster tail, French fries, sliced tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, and coffee.

Now that’s a last meal, as opposed to a humble chicken sandwich—which seems far more appropriate for a pauper than a “prince.”

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