Death-Row Meals inTexas

From December 7, 1982-March 26, 2003, the State of Texas killed its prisoners and fetishistically logged their final meals on the Web.

Texas removed its grisly log of final meals in December 2004, but The Memory Hole recovered the final version of the site at its "Deleted List of Texas Inmates' Last Meals" page.

Excerpts below from Sara Rimer's New York Times (Nov. 17, 2000) account of the U.S. Supreme Court's stay of execution for Johnny Paul Penry, a mentally retarded man sentenced to death in Texas for his 1979 murder of Pamela Carpenter.

Two Cheeseburgers, French Fries, Soft Drinks, Cheesecake

"After prison officials informed Mr. Penry of his stay of execution, Larry Fitzgerald, a prison spokesman, said, 'He wanted to know if he could still have his final meal.'

"Mr. Fitzgerald said that Mr. Penry had already ordered that meal: two cheeseburgers, french fries, soft drinks and cheesecake."

Death Chamber in Huntsville, Texas

Eat Your Pistol

Hidden Camera, First Photographed Execution of a Human Being
"On Wednesday night, when Tony Chambers was executed, the state of Texas tied its own record, of 37, which was set last year. J.C. Thompson, an officer with the Texas Department of Justice, was standing guard outside the prison when Mr. Chambers's mother, Ida Cheatam, emerged . . . and stood weeping in front of the television cameras.
"'Have a drink on me tonight,' she said. 'I lost my son tonight.'

"Mr. Thompson's expression was resigned as he listened to Ms. Cheatam's bitter words. 'After 23 years [working as a Corrections Officer on Death Row], you have to build a wall,' he said. 'Otherwise, you'd go home and eat your pistol. . . . Nobody likes to see anybody die.'"

It Would All Be Painless and He Would Die

"[Mr. Thompson] spent a day with Mr. Penry 10 years ago, when he had another execution date, and was brought to the death chamber from the Ellis unit.

"'I went through the normal procedures,' said Mr. Pickett [Carroll Pickett, prison chaplain], explaining to Mr. Penry that he would be injected with three drugs, which would put him to sleep, freeze his muscles and stop his heart. It would all be painless, Mr. Pickett told Mr. Penry, and he would die.

"'I spent about 30 minutes explaining it to him. . . . After I was done, he said, 'When do I get to go back to Ellis?'"

Electric Chair With Injection Gurney Background

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