Texas Shares Last Words of Executed

Most farewells mention love, life, family, God, 'sorry'
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2012 2:55 AM CDT
Updated Aug 13, 2012 4:32 AM CDT
Texas Saves Last Words of Executed
This is the gurney used to restrain condemned prisoners during the lethal injection process in the Texas death house.   (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

(Newser) – You know you have just minutes to live. What do you say? If you're about to be executed in Texas, you most often mention love, family, life, or God—and that you're "sorry." Those are the words that most frequently pop up in the farewells of inmates before they're put to death in the state. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice preserves every offender's final statement from the last 30 years on its website, and there are plenty of statements to read through, because Texas has executed nearly 500 people since 1982. The Los Angeles Times takes a look. A sampling:

  • "Tonight we tell the world that there are no second chances in the eyes of justice," killer carjacker Napoleon Beazley said before he was executed in 2002.Tonight, we tell our children that in some instances, in some cases, killing is right. No one wins tonight. No one gets closure. No one walks away victorious."

  • Before 54-year-old Marvin Wilson, a man with an IQ of 61, was executed last week for killing a police informant, he said: “Y'all do understand that I came here a sinner and leaving a saint. Take me home, Jesus. I love y'all. I'm ready."
  • In 1985, cop killer Henry Porter asked: "You call me a cold-blooded murderer? I didn’t tie anyone to a stretcher. I didn’t pump any poison into anybody’s veins. I call this and your society a bunch of cold-blooded murderers.”
  • Another cop killer, Charles William Bass, executed in 1986, was much harder on himself. "I deserve this," he said. "Tell everyone I said goodbye."
  • Double murderer Rogelio Cannady told everyone present from his family that he loved them, then added as he faded: "I thought it was going to be harder than this. I am ready to go."
  • But killer rapist Rodrigo Hernandez said as he was being executed earlier this year: "This stuff stings. God almighty."
(Read more Texas stories.)

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