Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Good Meal for a Bad Ladd

Thirty seven years after he committed his first murder, Robert Charles Ladd was finally executed by the state of Texas.

Ladd’s first capital crime occurred in 1978, when he killed a woman and her two small children then set the woman’s house on fire. Ladd served only 16 years of a 40-year sentence for those crimes before being paroled. Then, in 1996, he killed another woman by beating her with a hammer, strangling her, then setting her body on fire. Afterward, Ladd stole a TV, jewelry, and other small household items and traded them for crack cocaine.

Since Texas did away with special last meal requests,  condemned prisoners are served the same food as others in their unit. That means a Texas inmate’s last meal is a real coin toss; will the dying prisoner get something good, or will the Texas prison system’s notorious chicken patties rear their ugly head?

In Ladd’s case, his last meal of classic comfort food was much better than he deserved. For his last meal, Ladd was served meat loaf, mashed potatoes, tomato gravy, carrots, black eyed peas, and sliced bread, with a choice of water, tea, or punch to drink.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fourth Time is a Charm for Warren Lee Hill

If someone asked Warren Lee Hill for his advice on how to be executed, he might say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” That’s because the convicted double-murderer was up for execution three other times before the state of Georgia finally pulled the trigger tonight, so to speak.

Hill was originally jailed for murdering his girlfriend. Then, while in prison, he used a nail-studded board to murder his cellmate Joseph Handspike. That’s right; Hill basically used a “handspike” to murder a man named Handspike. The irony is amazing—it would be like beating a man named Bill Hoover to death with a vacuum cleaner, or using a Philips Head screwdriver to stab a man named John Philips. If only his cellmate had been named for a soft, safe, non-lethal item, like Brad Flowers or Matt Kleenex or Ben Cotton.

Despite being up for execution four times, Hill never exercised his right to order a special last meal. Today he was served the same food as others in his unit, which meant that Warren Hill’s last meal was Shepherd’s Pie, mashed potatoes, red bean, cabbage relish salad, cornbread, sugar cookies, and fruit punch.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Sketchy Life of Arnold Prieto

Arnold Prieto was executed by the state of Texas tonight for his part in a vicious triple murder which took place during a home robbery in 1993. Prieto and two other men were found guilty of stabbing three senior citizens to death with a screwdriver then ransacking the house in search of money and goods.

While on death row, Prieto gained quite a reputation as a jailhouse artist. His impressive sketches included portraits of Jesus, Yoda, and a random elephant.

Because Texas doesn’t allow special last meals, Prieto was given the same food as others in his prison unit. For his last meal, Prieto was served barbequed chopped beef, pinto beans, and carrots, with the usual choice of tea, punch, or water to drink.