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By N.T Stephanus / 09-06-2024 / SN HIGHLIGHTS

By Nokulunga TimnerPublished about a month ago 8 min read
Photo by Camila Credidio on Unsplash

In some states in America and other countries with legal capital punishment, there exists an interesting custom for criminals on death row: The infamous last meal.

Before they are executed, convicted felons are given the opportunity to choose any food and drink within certain regulations. Here are some of the strangest meals ever recorded.

Victor Harry Feguer, number 20. In 1963, 28-year-old Victor Harry Feguer was sentenced to death by hanging for convicted kidnapped murder. For his final meal he requested only one thing: a single olive with the pit left in it. After his execution, the olive pit was found inside Feguer's suit pocket. This contributed to the popular belief that he intended to be buried alongside it so that an olive tree symbolizing peace would sprout from his grave—a touching sentiment for a dangerous criminal.

Gerald Lee Mitchell, number 19 on the list of last meals, had a very different experience than Feguer. As he awaited his execution in 1998, Mitchell's thoughts were focused solely on one thing: what would be his final meal? After finishing the entire bag of Jolly Ranchers Candy, it's safe to say this criminal intended to go out on a real sugar high.

Number 18, Lawrence Russel Brewer. Some people have a clear idea of what they want to eat for their last meal; others are spoiled for choice. In 2011, convicted killer and white supremacist Lawrence Russel Brewer took full advantage of this unusual opportunity by indulging in an enormous feast. He ordered two fried chicken steaks with gravy and onion, a triple bacon cheeseburger, a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapenos; three fajitas; a meat feast pizza; a bowl of fried okra; and one pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread, brewer ordered a peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts, and a pint of Blue Bell ice cream—all washed down with three root beers. But when the order arrived, he refused to eat a morsel claiming that he wasn't hungry.

Texas Senator John Whitmire was so furious that he decided to ban the last meal request in the state, blaming Lawrence Russel Brewer for regular prison slop.

Number 17: John Wayne Gacy, a felon who made a notable last meal request, was the infamous serial killer known as Pogo the Killer Clown. For his last meal, Gacy requested 12 fried shrimp, a bucket of original recipe KFC, French fries, and a pound of strawberries. Before his conviction, Gacy had managed three KFC restaurants in Waterloo, his hometown, and evidently, he maintained his fondness for the famously delicious fare.

Number 16, John Spenkelink. For some, food isn't the priority at all when it comes to placing a final order. Once known for his heavy drinking, Spenkelink declined any special meal preparation, opting instead for a single flask of Jack Daniels, which he shared with the prison superintendent. Following his demise, Florida's last meal policy was altered to completely prohibit alcohol, and candidly, departing this life inebriated might not seem like the worst notion.

Number 15, Aileen Wuornos. Aileen Wuornos also requested a beverage before taking her last breath in 2002, but of a different kind. A single cup of black coffee was all she wanted. It may seem like this request was her way of saying don't even think about killing me before I've had my morning coffee, but Wuornos actually had far crazier motivations. In fact, she didn't believe she was going anywhere for long, as her notorious last words were, "I'd just like to say I'm sailing with the rock, and I'll be back like Independence Day with Jesus June 6." It's safe to say she still hasn't turned up yet.

Number 14, Ricky Ray Rector. Ricky Ray Rector seemed to have similar motivations when it came to his last meal. Rector had ordered a tasty sounding meal consisting of steak, fried chicken, and cherry Kool-Aid, followed by a slice of pecan pie, but he left his dessert untouched. When asked why he changed his mind on the sweet treat, Rector simply said he was saving it for later. Whether this was intended as an ironic joke or a sinister hint that his return in the afterlife was imminent is entirely up to you.

Number 13, Timothy McVeigh. What this senseless killer ordered as his last hurrah might surprise you, given the seriousness of his crimes. All McVeigh wanted to eat before his execution in 2001 was two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream, though it's unclear whether one remained chilled as he guzzled down the first or simply melted into a puddle beside it. To be honest, for a man responsible for 168 innocent deaths, even melted ice cream seems far too generous.

Number 12, David Leon Woods. Convicted murderer David Leon Woods spent a whopping 22 years on death row before he was put to death on May 4,2007 in Michigan, Indiana. When the daunting moment finally came, Woods had a fairly simple request for his last meal. He chose a standard pizza and an entire birthday cake, both of which he shared with his family. As it turns out, his birthday was actually three months after his execution, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.

Number 11, Thomas J. Grasso. Thomas J. Grasso was not the brightest of the bunch. And when judgment day came in 1995, his final meal request reflected his questionable life choices. He ordered a plethora of extravagant foods, like two dozen steamed clams, half a dozen barbecued ribs, a Burger King double cheeseburger, and two strawberry milkshakes alongside a can of Spaghettios to be served at room temperature. When Grasso's meal arrived, he was served spaghetti and meatballs instead, a mistake he'd never forgive,as his final words were, "I did not get my Spaghettios.I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this."

Number 10, Stephen Wayne Anderson. Grasso isn't the only one to throw a seemingly random ingredient into the mix when concocting the perfect final meal. Stephen Wayne Anderson was a pretty deadly criminal, but his food choices were interesting, to say the least. Before his execution in California in 2002, the 48-year-old requested two grilled cheese sandwiches, a pint of cottage cheese, a hominy corn mixture, peach pie and chocolate chip ice cream, and well, a big helping of radishes on the side.

Number 9, Peter J. Miniel. Convicted killer Peter J. Miniel could give Lawrence Russel Brewer ran for his money for one of the biggest orders ever served on death row in 2004. Miniel confessed to his crimes and was vocal about being ready to pay the price, but not before he gorged himself on this whopping order. He requested 20 beef tacos, 20 beef enchiladas, two double cheeseburgers, a pizza with jalapenos, fried chicken, spaghetti with salt, and a modest dessert of half a chocolate cake, half a vanilla cake, cookies and cream ice cream, caramel pecan fudge ice cream, and a small fruitcake.To wash it all down he also had two lots of Coke, Pepsi, root beer and orange juice. Maybe he intended to explode Henry VIII style before facing the music.

Number 8, Velma Barfield. This sweet, God-fearing grandmother became known as the Death Row Granny. Velma Barfield was the first woman put to death in the US in 22 years when she was executed by lethal injection in 1982, but not before she was granted one final meal. A cup of tea, a slice of coffee cake or a fruit scone might be what you'd expect, but all Barfield really wanted was a packet of Cheez Doodles and a can of Coke. But for a devout, Christian old lady who also killed six people, what can you really expect?

Number 7, Robert Alton Harris. When you're ordering your final meal on death row, it's important to cover all bases, and why agonise over which takeaway to get when you can combine the lot? This is exactly what murderer Robert Alton Harris did in 1992 when he requested a 21-piece bucket of KFC and two large Domino's pizzas alongside a six-pack of Pepsi with ice cream and a bag of jellybeans for dessert, and a packet of Camel cigarettes for good measure. Harris is most remembered for his final words, though, which were, "You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everybody dances with the Grim Reaper." Kind of prophetic for a seasoned criminal, don't you think?

Number 6, Ronnie Lee Gardner. Plenty of death row criminals have used their final meal as an opportunity to make smart choices, and Ronnie Lee Gardner was certainly determined to make his sitting last as long as possible. He didn't go too overboard on his order of steak, lobster tail, apple pie with vanilla ice cream and a 7-Up, but he also had another request: to watch the Lord of the Ring's trilogy while eating. Surprisingly, Gardner was permitted to do so, and with a combined run time of more than 11 hours, this must have been the longest last meal ever.

Number 5, Philip Workman. Gluttony was the last thing on Philips's mind when he requested his final meal. His final request was for a large vegetarian pizza to be given to a random homeless person, but prison officials refused to do so, and he ate nothing. In a surprising turnout on the day of his death on May 9th, homeless shelters in Tennessee received large amounts of vegetarian pizzas from people all over the country, so at least he did one good deed before his death.

Number 4, Angel Nieves Diaz. Philip Workman may have gone hungry because of his strangely selfless request, but Angel Nieves Diaz deliberately turned down his last meal, as he didn't order anything special. Diaz will serve the regular Wednesday prison menu of shredded turkey with taco seasoning, cheese, rice, pinto beans, tortilla shells, apple crisp and ice cream. As surprisingly nice as that sounds, Diaz refused to eat that too, and in his final words he condemned the death penalty as a form of vengeance, but also a cowardly act by humans.

Number 3, Oba Chandler. For his last meal, he ordered two salami sandwiches on white bread with mustard and peanut butter, and a grape jelly sandwich on white bread with iced tea and a coffee. With all that bread, it's safe to say another one bites the crust. Ba-dum. (mimics cymbal crashing) Shirt link on screen and in the description if you feel the need to expose the world to more crummy puns.

Number 2, Robert Dale Conklin. Conklin clearly had expensive taste, as he requested filet mignon wrapped in bacon, deveined shrimp sauteed and garlic butter with lemon, baked potato with sour cream, chives, and real bacon bits, corn on the cob, asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, French bread with butter, goat cheese, cantaloupe, vanilla bean ice cream, and iced tea.

Number 1, James Edward Smith. This convicted felon had one of the most bizarre last meal requests ever recorded. When it came down to his final meal request in 1990, all he wanted was a lump of soil. Although some have speculated that he did indeed intend to chow down on the dirt, others have suggested he planned to perform a voodoo ritual, as the soil was specified to be the rhaekunda type associated with witchcraft. As dirt was not on the list of foods permitted by prison regulations, Smith's request was denied, and he was served a cup of yogurt instead, which of course is the only reasonable alternative. So, what would you order if you were in their position? And which meal intrigued you the most?

Let me know when the comments down below thanks for reading.

capital punishmentfact or fiction

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    Nokulunga TimnerWritten by Nokulunga Timner

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