Archive for the Lethal injection Category

Famous last words

Posted in Death penalty, Electric chair, Firing squad, Hanged, Lethal injection on September 22 by Last Writes

Ever wondered what goes through someone’s mind as they prepare to meet their maker? We did, so here’s a compilation…

Funny one-liners

“Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries’!”
Those were the last words of one James French, as he addressed journalists there to witness his grizzly end.
Already in prison for life, James French purposely frittered away his life on 10 August 1966  by killing his cell-mate. The 30-year-old  was sentenced to the electric chair and met his frazzled end in Oklahoma.

“Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel.”
So said George Appel as he flash-fried on the electric chair on 9 August 1928 for killing a policeman.

“Why, yes, a bulletproof vest.”
The natural last request came from mobster Domonic Willard as he faced a firing squad. A few decades later, James W. Rodgers was to ask again.

“I’d rather be fishing”
Ain’t that the truth according to Jimmy L. Glass as he was angled towards a decidedly uncomfy seat in Louisiana’s electric chair on 12 June 1987. The 25-year-old was fried for murdering a middle-aged couple. His accomplice followed four days later.

“Pardonnez-moi, monsieur. Je ne l’ai pas fait expres”
Translation: Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.
Stepping on the toes of her executioner should have been the least of Marie Antoinette’s worries on 16 October 1793. The 37-year-old had a date with Madame la Guillotine on this day as a one of the key victims of the French Revolution.

Nearly botched the jobs

“Take a step forward lads – it’ll be easier that way.”
That was the handy hint issued by Robert Erskine Childers as he faced his firing squad on 24 November 1922.  A Irish nationlist, he was executed during the Civil War, apparently while his appeal was still being  processed.

“You guys doin’ that right?”
That was the question on Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams lips on 13 December 2005 , as his executioners fumbled around with the lethal injection equipment.

Plaintive pleas

“Please don’t let me fall.”
Ah the irony of the words uttered on 7 July 1865 as Mary Surratt headed up to the heady heights of the scaffold erected for her hanging.
Co-conspirator in the plan to assassinate President Lincoln, Mary Surratt’s other claim to infamy was as the first woman executed by the United States’ federal government.

“Is it safe?”
Rugeley Poisoner William Palmer seemed preoccupied with the stability of the gallows trap. But it was a moot point seeing as the 31-year-old was preparing for his public hanging on 14 June 1865. The former doctor hit the scaffold on this day for lacing his friend John Cook’s diet with strychnine, as well as killing others and cashing in on their deaths.

Bit late for that…

“Yes, no last words”
Elijah Page didn’t think that one through on 11 July 2007. The 26-year-old uttered those words during the first execution in South Dakota in 60 years. He was lethally injected for forcing a friend to drink acid, before beating him to death over a period of three hours.

Descent into hell

“I’ll be in Hell before you start breakfast! Let her rip!”
And let rip they did, because the rope around Tom ‘Black Jack’ Ketchum’s neck was too long. The 37-year-old train robber literally lost his head when it came clean off as he hanged on 26 April 1901.

“Hurry up. I’d like to be in hell in time for dinner.”
Edward H. Ruloff, a convicted serial killer rushed proceedings along  on 18 May 1871 after he was sentenced to death for killing his wife, daughter, sister-in-law and niece.
Not only was he infamous as the last person to have a public hanging in the State of New York but also because he was purported to have the largest brain in a Cornell professor’s collection.

“If anyone has a message for the Devil, give it to me – I’ll deliver it!”
Lavinia Fisher announced her offer as she faced being hanged for murder on February 18, 1820.
One half of a husband and wife hotelier team who would poison and stab residents, the Fishers were sentenced to death on 18 February 1820. At that time South Carolina women couldn’t be executed, so following her husband’s death, newly widowed Fisher rocked up for her own hanging garbed in a wedding dress. She’d hope to take advantage of the residing priest by bagging herself a would-be husband on the way to the scaffold. However as hopes of matrimony faded fast, she uttered her defiant words .

Today’s post is dedicated to the founder of this site and his lovely bride to be. All the best for your wedding day Old Sparky.

25 January 2006 – Marion Dudley

Posted in Lethal injection with tags , , , on January 25 by Old Sparky

Marion Dudley

Don’t be fooled by the name. Marion Butler Dudley was all man when he decided to kill six young men and women, plus an unborn child, in his deadly search for coke.

With his vain attempts to get a cocaine supply thwarted, Dudley turned his gun on a house full of occupants, despite the fact that one person was heavily pregnant.

He shot Jose Tovar in the head, along with his teenage stepson Frank Farias and Faria’s girlfriend, Jessica Quinones, who had just two months to go before she was due to give birth, along with 21-year-old neighbour Audrey Brown.

Two other victims – Jose’s wife, Rachel and a friend Nicholas Cortez – survived to identify Dudley and his two other associates. Dudley was sentenced to be executed by lethal injection on 25 January 2006 in Huntsville, Texas aged 23.

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24 January 1995 – Kermit Smith, Jr

Posted in Lethal injection with tags , , , on January 24 by Old Sparky

Murderous Kermit Smith, Jr. was frogmarched off for his lethal injection on this day in 1995.

Smith was executed in North Carolina for kidnapping, raping, and killing a 20-year-old cheerleader. He remains one of only a few white criminals to have ever been executed for murdering a black victim since 1976.

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24 January 1992 – Ricky Ray Rector

Posted in Lethal injection with tags , , , on January 24 by Old Sparky

Ricky Ray Rector

Hardly the slickest or quickest of exits took place on this day in 1992. It took 50 minutes to find a suitable vein in order to give Ricky Ray Rector his lethal injection.

The American was executed in Arkansas, aged 42 for murdering policeman Robert Martin and a shopper, when he was doing over a corner shop in an armed robbery.

He also managed to shoot himself in the head at the same time, the result of which was tantamount to a frontal lobotomy.

When he recovered he never regained an IQ over 70. So, poignantly, on the night of his execution, Rector apparently saved himself a piece of pecan pie for the next day…

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22 January 1992 – Mark Hopkinson

Posted in Lethal injection with tags , , , , on January 22 by Old Sparky

The alleged mastermind behind a murder and a bombing was put to death on this day in 1992.

The first execution in Wyoming since the ’60s was set aside for Mark Hopkinson. He was convicted of murdering a lawyer and his family after he lost a court case over water rights.

Heated water dispute

Vincent Vehar, Beverly Vehar and John Vehar were blown to bits after a bomb was planted at their home. This was a revenge attack after the Hopkinson family took on another family and a water board over water supplies. They lost on both counts to Vincent Vehar who was the attorney for both sets of opposition.

The plot thickens

Fair means had failed. So Hopkinson turned to foul methods to exact his revenge. And his plot included Jeffrey Green among others. Together they explored explosive ways to get back at the lawyer. But Green got caught with a bomb while speeding in his car.

Hopkinson bailed him out, but that act immediately linked the murderer to Green. So when the Vehar’s house blew up and the net started closing in, the police turned to Green for information. He folded and confessed what he knew. As a result, Hopkinson was apprehended.

Green would have been the prosecution’s star witness, had he lived to see Hopkinson’s trial. But he mysteriously disappeared, apparently on orders from Hopkinson, who was banged up at the time. Green’s carved-up body was found just two days before the Vehar inquiry opened.

With the circumstantial evidence and monies that changed hands following Green’s death, the jury found Hopkinson guilty. He was sentenced to be executed by lethal injection and, so far, the 42-year-old remains the only person to have been subject to the death penalty in Wyoming, since the 1960s.

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22 January 1992 – Joe Angel Cordova

Posted in Lethal injection with tags , , , , on January 22 by Old Sparky

Joe Angel Cordova

While Wyoming was executing its first victim since the ’60s, across state lines down south, the Texans were banging them out.

Joe Angel Cordova became the 43rd death row inmate to be executed in Texas, over the course of a 10-year period.

Cordova was put to death, aged 39, by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas. He’d been done for robbing and killing a man in 1982.


He was found guilty of bundling 32-year-old Masel Williams out of a phone booth and taking him to a remote wooded area. There Cordova cold bloodedly blasted him with a shotgun, as Williams pleaded for his life.

Texas duly slapped a death sentence on the trigger happy Cordova, in keeping with its reputation for doling out the most death penalties in America.

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19 January 2005 – Donald Beardslee

Posted in Lethal injection with tags , , , on January 19 by Old Sparky

Donald Beardslee

Arnold Schwarzenegger sanctioned his first execution to be carried out on this day in 2005.

Murderer Donald Beardslee’s appeal for clemency on the grounds of diminished responsibility was denied after Governor Schwarzenegger deemed that the criminal was fully aware of his actions. As a result Beardslee’s body was pumped full of lethal drugs just after midnight local time.

He had been found guilty of the 1981 shooting and stabbing of Stacey Benjamin, 19, and Patty Geddling, 23, in a drug-related dispute in San Francisco, having already served seven years for strangling and stabbed Laura Griffin in Missouri.

Beardslee was executed in San Quentin State Prison, California, aged 61.

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