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When a prisoner is executed, he or she is allowed to give a final statement. Some express sorrow and regret, some speak to the families of their victims, some invoke their religion and ask for forgiveness, some continue to proclaim their innocence — and some elect to say nothing at all. Here is a collection of last words spoken by convicted offenders before their execution.
Leonel Torres Herrera
Leonel Torres Herrera was convicted of murdering two police officers and was sentenced to death. His execution was in 1993.
- “I am innocent, innocent, innocent. Make no mistake about this; I owe society nothing. Continue the struggle for human rights, helping those who are innocent, especially Mr. Graham. I am an innocent man, and something very wrong is taking place tonight. May God bless you all. I am ready.”
Tony Chambers was convicted of abducting, raping and murdering an 11-year-old girl. He was executed in 2000.
- “Mom, I just want y’all to know that I love you. No matter what in life, I want you to stay strong. Doreen, you have been a very special part of my life, too. I want you to keep doing what you are doing. Stay strong. Dad, I want you to stay strong.”
Esker Gipson was convicted of setting fire to his home and killing his wife and five children. He was executed in 1942.
- “I have five babies already gone on, the dearest thing on earth to me, and I expect to meet them. I have already made my restitution.”
Dennis Dowthitt was condemned to death for sexually assaulting and murdering a teenage girl. Dowthitt’s son murdered her 9-year-old sister at his father’s order. He was put to death in 2001.
- “I am so sorry for what y’all had to go through … if I was y’all, I would have killed me. You know? I am really so sorry about it, I really am. I got to go sister, I love you. Y’all take care and God bless you. Gracie was beautiful and Tiffany was beautiful. You had some lovely girls and I am sorry. I don’t know what to say. All right, Warden, let’s do it.”
Aileen Carol Wuornos
Ms. Wuornos was convicted of murdering six men (of the seven she was accused of) and was executed in 2002.
- “I’d just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6. Like the movie, big mother ship and all, I’ll be back.”
James French was the only prisoner executed in the United States in 1966. He was sentenced to death after murdering his cellmate.
- “How’s this for your headline? ‘French Fries’ “
Robert Comer was convicted of the murders of his two neighbors, and was executed in 2007.
- “Go Raiders.”
Steven Woods was convicted of the murder of two individuals, and was executed by lethal injection in 2011.
- “You’re not about to witness an execution, you are about to witness a murder. I am strapped down for something Marcus Rhodes did. I never killed anybody, never. I love you, Mom. I love you, Tali. This is wrong. This whole thing is wrong. I can’t believe you are going to let Marcus Rhodes walk around free. Justice has let me down. Alex Calhoun completely screwed this up. I love you too, Mom. Well Warden, if you are going to murder someone, go ahead and do it. Pull the trigger. It’s coming. I can feel it coming. Goodbye everyone, I love you.”