Thursday, 8 May 2008

Go ahead Warden, murder me...




















One of the most repulsive sites on the web is the Texas Department of Criminal Injustice website. Texas is of course the US capital of state homicide and the website has a Death Row brag feature. The feature is not shy at blowing its trumpet as regards executions in Texas, with material such as 'Death Row Facts' and 'Information for the Media'. They used to have a 'last meals' feature but presumably now this is considered too voyeuristic even for the Texas Department of Criminal Injustice and that feature has been discontinued. What they do still have is a schedule of executed offenders, which gives among other material name, age, race, offender information and - this is what has attracted my attention - last statement. A significant minority (mostly white - there is a pattern) decline to make a last statement. Most do and they are largely sad apologies to family and friends and frequently to the family of the victim, farewells and prayer/statements of faith. Occasionally something else bursts through...


At least one just sounds confused...


'Uh, I don't know, Um, I don't know what to say. I don't know. (pauses) I didn't know anybody was there. Howdy'.


James Clark 38 White executed April 11 2007


And one defiant...


'...Go ahead Warden, murder me. Jesus take me home'.


Roy Pippin 51 White executed March 29 2007


One amazingly has retained a sense of humour...


'...where's my stunt double when you need one?'


Vincent Gutierrez 28 Hispanic executed March 28 2007


One grimly practical...


'The reason it took them so long is because they couldn't find a vein. You know how I hate needles - I used to stay in the Doctor's Office. Tell the guys on Death Row that I'm not wearing a diaper. I can't think of anything else. You all stay strong. Now you can put this all aside. Don't bury me in the prison cemetery. Bury me right beside momma. Don't bury me to the left of dad, bury me on the right side of mom'.


Charles Nealy 42 Black executed March 20 2007


One extremely defiant...


'Profanity directed toward staff'.


Joseph Nichols 45 Black executed March 7 2007


Finally, another part of Roy Pippin's last words...


'Yes sir, I charge the people of the jury. Trial Judge, the Prosecutor that cheated to get this conviction. I charge each and every one of you with the murder of an innocent man. All the way to the CCA, Federal Court, 5th Circuit and Supreme Court. You will answer to your Maker when God has found out that you executed an innocent man. May God have mercy on you'.


Like anyone who has ever had to go though the autopsy photos of murder victims, I have no illusions as to the nature of violent crime. No doubt the great majority of these guys were guilty. I am against executing the guiltiest of them. But some - maybe only a handful - may well have been innocent. Executing an innocent man is somewhat irreversible...


'An execution is not simply death. It is just as different from the privation of life as a concentration camp is from prison. It adds to death a rule, a public premeditation known to the future victim, an organization which is itself a source of moral sufferings more terrible than death. Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated can be compared. For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life'. Albert Camus




Roy Pippin

8 comments:

jailhouselawyer said...

I don't suppose the warden's name was McCann by any chance?

Brilliant post.

Android said...

I was reading about the way they execute people by the lethal injection. Don't ask... (Wikipedia surfing!) :S It's just so horrible and inhumane!! And it's also really unfair on the executioners I think... What an awful job that must be. :(

I don't know how true this is, but I read that in the past they wouldn't tell the prisoners when they are going to be executed. :|

Plus, after watching the Green Mile, I couldn't sleep for a week! :O

The fact that death penalty still exists in such a civilised and modern country such as USA is unbelievable.

Daisy said...

Great post. My state is one of the remaining death penalty states, and yeah, we've worked our butts off over it. :( One of the best voices in support has actually been Bishop Baker of South Carolina... it would undoubtedly be far worse (more executions) if not for him.

Thanks for the support! ((kisses))

MiMi said...

Personally I find it very hard if not impossible to feel sympathy with the anesthesists who partake in executions. They are nothing else than law appointed killers.

What happened to the Hippocratic oath?
"Never to do deliberate harm to anyone for anyone else's interest."

Law Minx said...

Quite how the Supreme Court came to recently decide that death by lethal injection of state sponsored murder does not constitute 'cruel and inhumane punishment and/or treatment' is in all frankness beyond my comprehension;no sooner than the court arrive at it's decision did the mechanisms of propelling inmates on death row to an agonising, and protracted end once again grind into action.
I am absolutely incensed.
As I understand the method, it is not Anaethetists who actually perform the dirty deed, precisely because of their Hippocratic Oath; the dosage of the drugs given is frequently inappropriate and can sometimes be given in the wrong order; GOD, I can't even begin to IMAGINE what it must feel like to upon that table fully paralysed whilst potassium cholride finally arrests the beating of your heart.
It doesnt even bear thinking about.

Lethal Injection nothwithstanding, ALL forms of execution to my mind violate just about every convention ever created in international law with respect to 'cruel and inhumane treatment'. A recent programme in the 'Horizon' series on BBC television investigated the various forms of execution employed in the US and came to the conclusion that no method guaranteed a quick and pain free end.
Man's cruelty to his fellow man is, it seems, neverending.....

B.E. Earl said...

Wow.

No words. Wow.

Lady WR said...

White Rabbit esq,

We are not related.

I have only just come across your blog, and your latest post is most compelling. I look forward to catching up on the other topics too.
Kindest regards

lotus07 said...

I just added a new webpage to my list of favorites.....(it is White Rabbit...not that damn Texas Death Page!)