08.14.2012 09:32 AM

I’m coming home

“Yes, I want to tell everybody that I love everybody. Keep your heads up. We are all family, people of God Almighty. We’re all good. I’m ready.

Are they already doing it? I’m gonna go to sleep. See you later. This stuff stings, man almighty.”

Hard words to read: the final statements of the hundreds of death row inmates executed over the years in my family’s former home, Texas.

I don’t know if it’ll change your views on the death penalty, pro or con, but you’ve got a stone for a heart if it doesn’t affect you in some way.


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    Np says:

    I’ve read these before. In fact, I once spent the better part of an hour going through these. Pro death penalty or not, it’s gut wrenching stuff. If you’re going to read their final words, I’d also advise you read the police reports of their crimes as well. If you’re going to take in what this site has to offer, make sure you take it all in.

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    Lance says:

    Then I guess I have a heart of stone/

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    Jason says:

    Agreed with the above. Read what they did before asking if I have a heart of stone.


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    que sera sera says:

    Read what “they” did. When it comes to the state’s retributive murder of citizens it is long past what “THEY” did. It is about what you DO. And accepting your state murdering people in retribution is accepting the fact that you do too. State and citizen murderers working in tandem to murder other murderers.

    I suspect capital punishment stems from the neo-con right wing evangelical fundamentalist xian extremism that still demands an eye for an eye when it comes to murder. Our federal government displays the same childish vindictive streak that has absolutely nothing to do with humanity and everything to do with ego, retribution and fear.

    The ugliest side of human nature, and the most fearful, always seems to define some ideologies. Where punishing a person is never enough, never ever enough, where the state must actually kill the person instead. There are, of course, huge psychological reasons that “the kill” is required (even metaphorically) to satisfy the beast.

    It’s like the US (loss of @ 3,200 people in 9/11) illegally invading Iraq on a pack of lies (no WMD, no Al-Qaeda) to get even and half a million innocent Iraqi’s dying as the result. State and citizen murderers working in tandem to murder innocents. Easy enough to do, I suppose, when you are used to murdering your own.

    Either blood is too valuable to be spilled or every one else’s blood is cheap except your own.

    It’s not surprising that Texas gave the world the imbecile George W. Bush as President of the USA.

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    Kelly says:

    State murder. Barbaric. Cruel but tragically, not unusual. All this especially so given the facts about wrongfull conviction James states above. And doubly wrong considering what know about neurobiology and the hard evidence indicating classical free will appears to be an illusion.

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    Ted H says:

    This is chilling stuff to read, the way it is presented, I had lots of thoughts some conflicted. I started out thinking yeah, the Texas judicial system would make the Nazis envious, it is an efficent killing machine, those peckerwoods sure like their death penalty. But as I went on and read the offenses, those were bad people, poorly educated and black or hispanic on the most part but I sure as hell would’t like to run into any of them. What they did was terrible and inexcusable but this is the product of the way US society has developed, this is the result of decades of right wing economic policy, of a country awash in easy to obtain handguns, of cutbacks in public school funding. On one level, crime is just needs being met, the perpetrators are victims too, but on another, if I had any relationship with one of the people they killed, I would be glad to see the bastards put away. I said it created conflicted thoughts, but I am against the death penalty, too much chance of error, especially where poor and ignorant people are concerned who probably don’t get adequate representation.

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      Ted H says:

      Maybe this is too cynical, I said I was conflicted, but that death penalty sure is a powerful evangelical tool, everyone is going home to Jesus. Maybe that is why the Christian Right love it so much.

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    Dude Love says:

    Everyone asks for forgiveness and peace on their death bed.

    ps. Kinda hard to feel for someone who raped and killed a 7 year old girl, feel for the family and think about what that your girl was pleading for during the atrocity committed on her.

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    Shawn says:

    Colour me ignorant maybe… but why do they list the race there?

    It’s an odd and very uneasy thing to be able to read someone’s last words in that context.

    I’ve never believed in the death penalty but I doubt anyone in this comment section is suddenly going to bring something new to that discussion.

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    Ted H says:

    I can’t believe some of this stuff, I guess I have been sheltered. Number 3, white male, convicted of poisoning his son’s halloween candy with cyanide, and as his final statement he says “To my loved ones, I extend my undying love. To those close to me, know in your hearts I love you one and all. God bless you all…” Nothing at all about his son whom he poisoned, but he does say the death penalty is wrong. Forgive me Lord but this useless piece of crap didn’t deserve to die, he deserved to never have even been born in the first place.

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      GFMD says:

      Based only on that kind of short discription, I immediately think serious mental instability than I come to the conclusion of cold blooded killer. Certainly it’s a sobering tragedy, but it doesn’t elicit a “KILL KILL KILL THEY DESERVE IT” response that seems to be prevelant in a lot of death penalty discussions.

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    You don't like me says:

    Has anybody ever filibustered an execution?

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    Brad says:

    Always opposed it, I started to read some of the statements, awful stuff all around.

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    Gwyneth Robb says:

    Donald Marshall, David Millgard, Guy Paul Morin.

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    Robert Jago says:

    A few quotes: “understand that I came here a sinner and leaving a saint.” “Continue to walk with God.” “We are all family, people of God Almighty.” “Thank you for this, my God is a God of Salvation.” and on and on it goes . . .

    Yech. Thank god HE made me an atheist. If that’s the company you have to share in heaven, you can keep it. I felt far worse for Saddam Hussein than for most of these people. At least he died with some dignity. “Come here a sinner and leaving a saint”? Imagine being the family of the victim and hearing that? My heart bleeds for them. Which isn’t to say that I support the death penalty – it’s just to say that I have no sympathy for murderers.

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    Domenico says:

    For a state with a 12% black population they seem to be “slightly” overrepresented on death row.

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    Bluegreenblogger says:

    I am feeling sick to my stomach. What kind of vicious State policy takes these irrevocable actions? 6 months ago I held my fathers hand as he passed away. Cancer can be arbitrary and irrevocable as well, but at least it is neutral and natural end to the magical condition called LIFE. It is not imposed by people convinced that exercising the ultimate sanction is OK as a conscious and pre-meditated sanction. Imagine how those who were actually innocent would have been feeling. I am not immune to the counter-argument that many of these people were murderers who also made irrevocable and pre-meditated decisions, but revenge is not what state policy is, or should be about. Nor is ‘closure’ for victims. Neither revenge nor salving the grief of victims justifies pre-meditated murder. And the argument that death is the best deterrent, ( deterrence being the true purpose of state punishments) is simply false. There is little difference between murder rates before and after death penalty is instituted, none that can be attributed to the penalty itself. I wish I never followed that link. It will bother me for some time to come.

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