Exploring The Legacy Of Final Meals In Jail Historical past  · Seasonal Cravings

Identical to different individuals, I’ve undoubtedly contemplated what I might need for my final meal earlier than I used to be to be executed, and it might be the lemongrass tofu lunch particular from my favourite Vietnamese restaurant.

Nonetheless, this question isn’t only a foolish sport for a lot of dying row inmates and their meal almost definitely wouldn’t encompass a specialty Asian dish. Prisoners have made every kind of requests through the years, starting from easy to extravagant to downright odd.

The fascination with this morbid custom has been chronicled in numerous varieties, resembling paintings, books, and numerous information retailers, and I don’t think about it slowing down any time quickly.   

Historical past of the Final Meal

prisoner and guard

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The custom of serving a condemned prisoner a final meal dates again to historic Greek civilization. “In Historic Greece, you needed to feed the one who was going to be executed in order that they may cross the River Styx into the underworld and never come again as a hungry ghost,” in line with a paper written by Sarah Gerwig-Moore on the Mercer College College of Legislation.  

The custom unfold to Rome, the place gladiators, who have been most definitely dealing with imminent dying within the coliseum, would get pleasure from a remaining feast. This historic custom has developed many types of “final meal” requests. Inside the American jail system, many say that granting a dying row inmate their final meal is a method to reintroduce humanity into an in any other case inhumane state of affairs. 

States Guidelines and Restrictions Round Final Meal Requests

last meal for prisoner

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No matter what individuals may consider, simply because a prisoner makes a request doesn’t suggest their needs can be fulfilled. Most states have stipulations about what meals can be given, and in case you’re unlucky to seek out your self on dying row in Texas, you will not even be granted a final meal. The state did away with the custom again in 2011. 

No alcohol or tobacco is provided to inmates of their remaining days, and the meal will normally encompass what the jail kitchen can create from its stock inside a specified price range. If a filet mignon is ordered, the prisoner may as an alternative obtain a hamburger. Nonetheless, there have been circumstances the place prisoners did obtain their precise final want.

Lawrence Russell Brewer


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Texas removed a prisoner’s final meal request due to Lawrence Russell Brewer. Brewer, convicted of the dragging dying of James Byrd Jr in Jasper, Texas, made an elaborate remaining meal request, and the state granted it. 

When the meal of two hen fried steaks with gravy, one triple meat bacon cheeseburger with all of the fixings, a southwestern omelet, fried okra, a pound of BBQ with a half loaf of white bread, three fajitas with the fixings, one Pizza Hut meat lovers pizza, three root beers, a pint of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream, and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts arrived, Brewer refused to eat any of it. 

John Wayne Gacy

kfc fried chicken

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The infamous “Killer Clown,” John Wayne Gacy, was put to dying by deadly injection by the state of Illinois on the age of 52. His remaining meal request consisted of twelve fried shrimp, a bucket of authentic recipe Kentucky Fried Hen, french fries, and a pound of contemporary strawberries. 

Maybe his love of the finger-lickin’ good KFC hen comes from his days managing three shops owned by his father-in-law. 

Darryl Barwick

POZNAN, POLAND - MAR 1, 2018: Plastic bottles of Coca-Cola, a carbonated soft drink manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Florida man Darryl Barwick was convicted of killing 24-year-old Rebecca Wendt when he was solely 19 years outdated in 1986. Earlier than his execution in Could 2023, Barwick ate his requested meal of fried hen, mac and cheese, black-eyed peas, white rice, and cornbread. He washed it down with a Coca-Cola and had ice cream for dessert.  

Robert Dale Conklin

filet mignon with asparagus

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Maybe the costliest and outlandish final meal requests ever made got here from convicted killer Robert Dale Conklin. In 2005, Conklin acquired and consumed the meal whereas ready for execution for the dying of his lover.

It was reported that the prisoner ate each final morsel of filet mignon wrapped with bacon, de-veined shrimp sautéed in garlic butter with lemon, baked potato with the entire fixings, corn on the cob, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, French bread with butter, goat cheese, cantaloupe, apple pie, vanilla bean ice cream, and unsweet iced tea. I assume he was counting energy and did not need the additional sugar that candy tea has.  

Ronnie Threadgill

mashed potatoes with gravy and chicken

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Though Texas had performed away with final meals for dying row inmates in 2011, that did not cease Ronnie Threadgill from making his remaining request two years later. Threadgill, convicted of homicide in 2002, ordered baked hen, mashed potatoes with nation gravy, greens, candy peas, bread, tea, water, and punch. 

Nonetheless, the state ignored his request, and Threadgill acquired the identical meal as the entire different prisoners earlier than his execution. 

Aileen Carol Wuornos

Cup of Vietnamese egg coffee (ca phe trung) on wooden table of street cafe on natural background. Traditional drink in Vietnam.

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Truthfully, I wasn’t shocked after I realized of Aileen Carol Wuornos’s final meal request. The uncommon feminine serial killer was discovered responsible of murdering six males and spent a decade on Florida’s dying row. When requested what she needed as her final meal earlier than being executed by deadly injection, Wuornos requested a cup of black espresso. 

Her meal may need been easy, however she was extra verbose along with her remaining phrases, “I would similar to to say, I am crusing with the rock, and I will be again, like Independence Day, with Jesus, June sixth. Just like the film Large Mothership and all. I will be again.” 

Ricky Ray Rector

In 1992, Ricky Ray Rector was put to dying for the homicide of an Arkansas police officer. He shot the officer within the again, and in what many consider was an try to take his personal life, Rector shot himself within the head instantly following the cop’s dying. Nonetheless, he survived however was severely mentally incapacitated. 

For his final meal, Rector ordered steak, fried hen, cherry Kool-Support, and a slice of pecan pie. He didn’t eat the pie, telling the corrections officer he was “saving it for later.” In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Courtroom banned the execution of individuals with mental disabilities in Atkins v. Virginia, ruling that the observe constitutes merciless and strange punishment. Rector leaving the pie for later was a stark reminder that he won’t have understood the magnitude of what was about to happen. 

Ted Bundy

Texas Roadhouse Bbq ribs on a wooden cutting board.

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Ted Bundy, on the age of 43, was put to dying by an electrical chair in Florida. One of the vital infamous serial killers in U.S. historical past was sentenced to dying for 35 counts of homicide, necrophilia, rape, and jail escape.

Bundy declined a particular request for his final meal and was as an alternative given the conventional final meal provided at the moment, which consisted of a steak cooked medium-rare, eggs over simple, hash browns, toast with butter and jelly, milk, and juice.   

Timothy McVeigh

mint chocolate chip ice cream

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Timothy McVeigh, who deliberate and carried out the horrific terror assault in Oklahoma Metropolis that killed 168 individuals, was executed in Indiana by deadly injection on the age of 33. Earlier than his execution, his final meal request was merely two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream. 

His remaining meal may need been simple, however his final phrases have been something however. McVeigh selected the poem Invictus, which suggests “unconquerable” in Latin, to be learn earlier than taking his final breath. 

Karla Faye Tucker


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Karla Faye Tucker spent 15 years on Texas’s dying row for the murders of a male acquaintance and his feminine companion, who was in his house on the time of the crime. She by no means denied committing the murders and had made peace with the inevitable consequence via her conversion to Christianity whereas behind bars. 

Earlier than her dying by deadly injection in 1998, Tucker made the quite simple but wholesome request for a banana, a peach, and a backyard salad with Ranch dressing. 

Joseph Mitchell Parsons

Burger King Sweet Potato Fries in a package.

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In 1987, Joseph Parsons caught a trip with Richard Ernest, brutally stabbed him to dying, after which assumed his identification. He was convicted and sentenced to Utah’s dying row. He selected his final meal of three Burger King whoppers, two orders of french fries, a chocolate shake and chocolate ice cream, and a bundle of grape Hubba Bubba bubble gum.

On the time, his lawyer mentioned Parsons selected a Burger King meal due to the corporate’s slogan, ‘Have it your manner,’ which he believed symbolized Parsons taking management of his personal life.

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