LookingBack Oct. 31

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com

Even the most "normal" people have a taste for the macarbe at times. So, here is a look back at the sometimes unusual and at other times sad, last meals and last words of those on their way to be executed. It is, after all, Halloween.


* Allen Lee Davis (Florida, July 8, 1999):

Weighing in at 350-pounds, "Tiny" Davis had the following last meal: one lobster tail, fried potatoes, a half-pound of fried shrimp, six ounces of fried clams, half a loaf of garlic bread, and 32 ounces of A&W root beer.

* Gary Gilmore (Utah, January 17, 1977)

Before facing the firing squad, Gilmore had a meal of one hamburger, hard-boiled eggs, a baked potato, a few cups of coffee, and three shots of whiskey.

* Karl Eugene Chamberlain (Texas, June 11, 2008) :

A jury deliberated just seven minutes before convicting Chamberlain of capital murder for killing his neighbor and took 2 1/2 hours to decide he should be put to death. Eleven years after the murder, Chamberlain enjoyed a hearty meal of fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, lunch meat, deviled eggs, six fried cheese-stuffed jalapeno peppers, a chef salad with ranch dressing, onion rings, French fries, a cheeseburger, two fried chicken breasts, barbecue pork, rolls, an omelet, milk and orange juice.

* Philip Workman (Tennessee, May 9, 2007):

Workman declined a special meal for himself, but he asked for a large vegetarian pizza to be given to a homeless person in Nashville. This request was denied.

* Robert Alton Harris (California, April 21, 1992)

The menu for this killer of two teenagers included a 21-piece bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, two large Domino's pizzas (no anchovies), ice cream, a bag of jelly beans, a six-pack of Pepsi, and a pack of Camel cigarettes.

* Timothy McVeigh (Indiana, June 11, 2001)

This United States Army veteran and former security guard was responsible for detonating a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people. McVeigh requested, and was provided, two pints of mint chocolate-chip ice cream for his last meal.

* William Bonin (California, Feb. 23, 1996)

After 14 years on death row, Bonin last meal included two pepperoni and sausage pizzas, three servings of chocolate ice cream, and about fifteen cans of Coca-Cola (he requested three six-packs). Bonin was executed for the deaths of 21 young boys and was suspected in 15 additional cases. The youngest victim was 12 years old.

* Thomas Grasso (Oklahoma, March 20, 1995)

Grasso devoured a dozen steamed mussels, a Burger King double cheeseburger with mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato, a can of Franco-American spaghetti with meatballs, a mango, half of a pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and a strawberry milkshake. He had actually requested Spaghetti-O's and did not take this slight lightly. His last words included this complaint, "I did not get my Spaghetti-O's. I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this!"

* Walter LaGrand (Arizona, March 3, 1999)

Before entering the gas chamber, LaGrand had this for his final meal: six fried eggs, 16 strips of bacon, one large serving of hash browns, a pint of pineapple sherbet, a breakfast steak, a cup of ice, 7-Up, Dr Pepper, Coke, hot sauce, coffee, two sugar packs. And, as a final item: four Rolaids.

* William Putnam (Georgia, November 13, 2002)

This killer of a couple at a rest stop in south Georgia in 1980 had three eggs over light, toast, bacon, hash browns, vanilla ice cream and two soft drinks.

* Alton Coleman (Ohio, April 26, 2002)

Coleman requested a final dinner of filet mignon, sauteed mushrooms, sweet potato pie with whipped cream, butter pecan ice cream, biscuits with brown gravy, broccoli with cheese, French fries, cherry coke, a green lettuce salad with French dressing, collard greens, onion rings, fried chicken breast and corn bread. In lieu of filet mignon, a New York strip steak was served.

* John Washington Hightower (Georgia, June 26, 2007)

Hightower killed his wife and two stepdaughters in July 1987. Almost 20 years later he dined for the last time on four fried pork chops, collard greens with boiled okra and "boiling meat", fried corn, fried fatback, fried green tomatoes, cornbread, lemonade, one pint of strawberry ice cream and three glazed donuts.

* John Wayne Gacy (Illinois, May 10,1994)

Gacy dined on Kentucky Fried Chicken, fried shrimp, French fries, strawberries and Diet Coke. This killer of at least 33 young men was a former manager of a KFC.

* Blanche "Dovie" Dean (Ohio, January 15, 1954)

Dean confessed to killing her 69-year-old husband by putting rat poison in his milk. This 55-year-old ate a last meal of roasted chicken, potatoes, asparagus, green salad with French dressing, coconut cream pie, angel food cake and coffee.

Last words

"How's this for a headline for tomorrow's paper? French fries." - James French, Oklahoma, 1966

"I'd rather be fishing". - Jimmy Glass, Louisiana, 1987

"Good people are always so sure they're right." -Barbara Graham, California, 1955

"Today is a good day to die. I forgive all of you. I hope God does, too." - Mario Benjamin Murphy, Virginia, 1997

"Capital punishment: them without the capital get the punishment." - John Spenkelink, Florida, 1979

"I'd like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me. And the rest of the world can kiss my a**." - Johnny Frank Garrett, Sr., Texas, 1992

"Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel." - George Appel, New York, 1928

"I'd like you to give my love to my family and friends." -Ted Bundy, Florida, 1989

"There is no way words can express how sorry I am for taking the lives of my babies. Now I can be with my babies as I always intended." -Christina Marie Riggs, Arkansas, 2000

"Somebody needs to kill my trial attorney." - George Harris, Missouri, 2000