9 May 2007 – Philip Workman

Phillip WorkmanIt’s a time honoured tradition. Death row inmates get the meal of their choice on their last night in the US.

But Philip Workman passed up his last supper in favour of offering veggie pizzas to all the homeless in the area.

But the Nashville jail denied the dying man his last wish because they didn’t do charity. So Philip Workman went to his death on this day not knowing the legacy he left behind.

Want coke with that?

Having been homeless himself, Workman knew desperation. Maybe that’s why he went on a coke fuelled bender and fatefully decided to rob a branch of Wendy’s Diner in Memphis. During the robbery there was a shoot-out and a cop copped a fatal shot.

Workman was found guilty of murder and sentenced to die via a lethal injection.

The drugs don’t work

But even his stint on death row didn’t go without drama. Following gruesome tales about lethal injections not working, or causing untold suffering, Workman was worried. Couple that with the recently televised execution of child murderer Robert Coe and Workman was understandably edgy. Waiting for your life to expire is suffering enough without the threat of a bungled execution hanging over you.
Nevertheless, the sentence stood and despite three stays of execution, which involved Workman having to say goodbye to his daughter each time, he finally got dosed up with the lethal cocktail on this day in 2007, aged 53.

Need dough

So what happened to the pizzas?

Word got around and the people of the surrounding area, touched by the man’s humility in the face of his certain execution, pledged support and stumped up the cash to foot the bill for the condemned man’s wish. Although he died before he got to know what was happening, Workman’s last request was posthumously fulfilled by the citizens of Nashville.

‘Philip Workman was trying to do a good deed and no-one would help him. I knew my husband would have a heart attack – I put some of it on credit card. I just felt like I had to do something’, said one local resident, Donna Spangler, according to a report in the ‘Metro’.

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