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Last Words of the Condemned

Adam's Apple

Senior Member
Apr 25, 2004
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Dead Men Talkin': Pre-Execution Pronouncements
By Jesse Leavenworth, Hartford Courant
October 27, 2006

• Thomas Grasso, convicted killer, by lethal injection in Oklahoma, 1995 - Grasso killed two elderly women, strangling one with her Christmas lights. His last meal included a double cheeseburger and half a pumpkin pie with whipped cream, but Grasso complained that his executioners messed up his last dinner order. His final statement: "I did not get my SpaghettiOs. I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this."

• John Spenkelink, convicted killer, by electric chair in Florida, 1979 - "Capital punishment. Them without the capital get the punishment."

• George Jacques Danton, French revolutionary accused of being "indulgent" to the monarchy, by guillotine, 1794 - "Show my head to the people. It is worth seeing."

• Johnny Frank Garrett, convicted of killing a Catholic nun, by lethal injection in Texas, 1992 - "I'd like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me. And the rest of the world can kiss my ass."

• Thomas de Mahy, marquis de Favras, convicted of treason by French revolutionaries, by hanging in Paris, 1790 - Upon being handed his death warrant at the scaffold, the marquis said, "I see that you have made three spelling mistakes."

• St. Lawrence, early Christian martyr, suspended over hot coals and burned to death in Rome, 258 - "Turn me. I am roasted on one side." (Some religious scholars dispute the story, saying Lawrence was almost certainly beheaded.)

• George Appel, convicted killer, by electric chair in New York, 1928 - "Well gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel."

• James French, convicted killer, by electric chair in Oklahoma, 1966 - "How about this for a headline for tomorrow's papers: `French Fries'?"

• Harry Harbord "Breaker" Morant, Australian military officer convicted of killing prisoners during the Boer War, by firing squad in South Africa, 1902 - "Shoot straight, you bastards! Don't make a mess of it!"

• Thomas "Black Jack" Ketchum, convicted train robber, by hanging, New Mexico, 1901 - "I'll be in hell before you start breakfast, boys!" Ketchum reportedly said to some men attending the execution. "Let her rip." (Those last words were prophetic. The rope was too long, and Ketchum's head was torn from his body).

• Marie Antoinette, French queen convicted of treason, by guillotine in Paris, 1793 - "Pardonez-moi, monsieur" (after accidentally stepping on the executioner's foot).

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