|Photo by Aurélien Lemasson-Théobald on Unsplash|
Welcome back to 20 Days of Chill. Today's prompt is
- What's the last thing you ate?
- Jesus and his apostles' last supper
- The literal last meal of death row inmates
I'l take door number three. As part of my 2019 A - Z Blogging Challenge D was for Death Penalty. In that post I talked about the following:
- Does the death penalty prevented people from killing other people?
- What makes the death penalty so expensive?
- Why does it take so long to execute evil murderers and child molestors?
- Why has sourcing lethal injection drugs become so difficult?
Interesting stuff, check it out!
Prior to the injection, however, comes the only pleasant part related to the death penalty:
The last meal
Death row prisoners are granted a food request.
In some state there is a cost range within which you are welcome to put together your meal.
Lawrence Russell Brewer, a white supremacist who was convicted of a hate-motivated homicide of an African American, wanted the following:
Whoa, that's a lot of food! The prison chef and his team went to work and delivered! When it arrived at Brewer's cell, he claimed he wasn't hungry and didn't eat any of it.
This prompted the Texan senate to stop granting last meal requests to death row inmates.
So one asshole spoiled it for all the other prisoners who behave well and respect the rules.
Here are some inmates whose last meal requests made me smile and think that even hardened criminals are somewhat decent human beings:
David Leon Woods asked for pizza and a birthday cake which he shared with his family.
|Photo by Nikhita Singhal on Unsplash|
Joseph Mitchell Parsons wanted three BK Whoppers with fries, a chocolate shake, chocolate chip ice cream and Hubba Bubba bubblegum that he shared with his brother and a cousin.
|Photo by sk on Unsplash|
Philip Workman Declined a special meal for himself, but he asked for a large vegetarian pizza to be given to a homeless person. This request was denied by the prison, but carried out by many civilians across the country.
Victor Feguer wanted a single olive with the pit still in it. He told guards he hoped an olive tree would sprout from his grave as a sign of peace.
Then there was the sad case of Joe Arridy. He asked for ice cream.
|Photo by Lama Roscu on Unsplash|
Let's have a look at his case:
Joe Arridy was the son of Syrian immigrants. He was born in 1915 in Pueblo, CO. Joe was slow and had difficulty learning and talking. He went back and forth between his parents' home and a state home for mental defective kids.
Joe never harmed anyone and was happiest when walking around alone.
State psychiatrists later acknowledged he had an IQ of 46, the mind of a six-year-old and couldn't distinguish between right and wrong.
Arridy ran away from his "insane asylum" and began washing dishes for a kitchen car in Cheyenne, WY.
In August 1936, Joe was accused and convicted for the rape and murder of Dorothy Drain, a 15 year old girl.
While held on death row, Joe often played with a toy train that a warden gave him. Arridy also liked to polish his metal food tray and use it as a mirror to talk to himself and make funny faces.
Joe Arridy's last meal request was ice cream, after which he was taken to the gas chamber January 6, 1939.
In 2011, over 70 years later, Joe received a posthumous pardon, based on what appeared to be a coerced false confession.
It looks to me that Joe Arridy was an easy scapegoat. So sad. I wonder if by today's standards he would even be considered to be competent to stand trial and to be executed.
The real killer, Frank Aguilar, was identified, convicted and executed August 15, 1937.
Joe was still alive in prison at that time! I just don't get how this didn't set him free? Joe's warden even enlisted Gail Ireland, a successful attorney, who managed to get several stays, but ultimately couldn't spare Joe's life.
Researching this case a bit, I dare to say it all comes down to a bigmouth Sheriff who fed this shy loner that Joe was whatever they needed to get the case closed (and collect the monetary reward).. Did he wait for the DA and a court reporter? Did he at the very least take notes during the interrogation? No, but he was quick to round up the press.
Is this how the justice system works?
Do you think something like this might still happen today?
Let me know in the comments below. Hope you'll be back for 7 more days of chill! In the meantime why don't you visit my fellow bloggers' posts over here.
Thursday, January 2: A new decade
Friday, January 3: Beautiful places
Monday, January 6: Is that chicken?
Tuesday, January 7: Show me the way
Wednesday, January 8: Naps
Thursday, January 9: Snow
Friday, January 10: Fri-Yay
Monday, January 13: Social Media
Tuesday, January 14: Cheddar
Wednesday, January 15: Dream on
Thursday, January 16: Popcorn
Friday, January 17: Snapshot
Wednesday, January 22: Sign it in ink
Thursday, January 23: Spam
Friday, January 24: May I take your order?
Monday, January 27: A cocktail, if you will
Tuesday, January 28: Bring me to you
Wednesday, January 29: Oh, thank goodness!