In some states in America and other countries with legal capital punishment, there exists an interesting custom for criminals on death row – the infamous last meal. Convicted felons get the opportunity to select any food and drink of their choice within certain regulations on the eve of their execution. Here are some of the strangest meals ever recorded…
20. Victor Harry Feguer
In 1963, 28-year-old Victor Harry Feguer received a death sentence by hanging for kidnap-murder.
Feguer and his attorneys requested clemency from president John F. Kennedy, who had the power to moderate the sentencing, but he denied the appeal.
For his final meal, the young man had only one request: a single olive with the pit left in.
After his execution, the olive pit was found inside Feguer’s suit pocket, contributing to the popular belief that he intended to be buried alongside it so that the olive tree symbolizing peace would sprout from his grave. For a dangerous criminal, it’s almost a touching sentiment.
19. Gerald Lee Mitchell
Gerald Lee Mitchell’s final meal was even sweeter than Feguer’s… but in an entirely different sense. He killed a man during a drug deal and claimed a second victim during a dispute over a necklace. He was 18 when the court found him guilty of the crimes. 14 years later, as he awaited his final moments on death row, Mitchell had only one thing on his mind when it came to his final meal: an assorted bag of Jolly Ranchers candy.
After finishing the entire bag before facing the final curtain, it’s safe to say this criminal intended to go out on a real sugar high.
18. Lawrence Russel Brewer
While some have a clear idea of the last thing they’ll ever eat, others are totally spoilt for choice. Taking full advantage of this unusual opportunity, convicted killer and white-supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer decided to indulge in an enormous feast in 2011. He requested: 2 fried chicken steaks with gravy and onion, a triple bacon cheeseburger, a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapenos, three fajitas, a meat-feast pizza, a bowl of fried okra, a pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread, peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts and a pint of Blue Bell ice cream all washed down with three root beers.
In a final screw-you to the justice system, though, Brewer refused to eat a morsel when the order arrived, claiming that he wasn’t hungry. Texas senator John Whitmire was so furious that he decided to ban the last meal request in the state, so future death-row prisoners have Lawrence Russel Brewer to blame for regular prison slop.
17. John Wayne Gacy
Another felon who capitalized on his last meal request was the notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy otherwise known as the ‘killer clown’ Pogo, who was sentenced for 33 counts of murder and executed by lethal injection in Illinois in 1994.
For his final supper, Gacy ordered 12 fried shrimp, a bucket of original recipe KFC, French fries and a pound of strawberries.
Prior to his conviction, Gacy was the manager of three KFC restaurants in his home city of Waterloo. Clearly, he still loved that finger-lickin’ goodness!
16. John Spenkelink
For some, food isn’t the priority at all when it comes down to making a last order. John Spenkelink was convicted of one count of murder and armed robbery and put to death in Florida State Prison, Florida in 1979 – but not before one final celebration.
Spenkelink was a heavy drinker. So, he denied any special food, but asked for a single flask of Jack Daniels instead, which he shared with the prison superintendent.
© PX Fuel
After his death, the state of Florida’s last meal provisions was revised to exclude alcohol altogether, but to be honest going out while drunk doesn’t seem like such a bad idea…
15. Aileen Wuornous
Known as ‘America’s first female serial killer’ Aileen Wuornos also requested a beverage before taking her last breath in 2002, but of a different kind: a single cup of black coffee was all she wanted.
It may seem like this request was her way of saying “don’t even think about killing me before I’ve had my morning coffee” but Wuornos actually had far crazier motivations. In fact, she didn’t believe she was going anywhere for long, as her notorious last words were: “I’d just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back like Independence Day with Jesus June 6”… it’s safe to say she still hasn’t turned up yet.
14. Ricky Ray Rector
Ricky Ray Rector seemed to have similar motivations when it came to his last meal before he was executed in Arkansas in 1992 for the murder of a police officer in 1981. Rector had ordered a tasty-sounding meal consisting of steak, fried chicken and cherry Kool-Aid followed by a slice of pecan pie, but he left his desert untouched.
When a guard asked him about the sweet treat, Rector simply said he was “saving it for later” – whether this was as an ironic joke or a sinister hint that his return in the afterlife was imminent is entirely up to you.
13. Timothy McVeigh
Timothy McVeigh is the man responsible for the Oklahoma City Bombing of 1995 which was the biggest US terrorist attack before the events of 9/11, but What this senseless killer ordered as his last hurrah might surprise you, given the seriousness of his crimes.
All McVeigh wanted to eat before his execution in 2001 was two pints of mint-choc-chip ice cream. Although no one knows whether one remained chilled as he guzzled down the first or simply melted into a puddle beside it.
To be honest – for a man responsible for 168 innocent deaths – even melted ice cream seems far too generous.
12. David Leon Woods
Convicted murderer David Leon Woods spent a whopping 22 years on death row before he was put to death on May 4th, 2007 in Michigan, Indiana. When the daunting moment finally came, Woods had a fairly simple request for his last meal – he chose a standard pizza and an entire birthday cake, both of which he shared with his family.
As it turns out, his birthday was actually three months after his execution, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
11. Thomas J. Grasso
Thomas J Grasso was not the brightest of the bunch, and when judgment day came in 1995 for his two separate murders of elderly people in different states, his final meal request reflected his questionable life choices. He ordered a plethora of extravagant foods like 2 dozen steamed clams, ½ dozen barbecued ribs, a burger king double cheeseburger and two strawberry milkshakes alongside a can of SpaghettiO’s to be served at room temperature.
When Grasso’s meal arrived, he got spaghetti and meatballs instead – a mistake he’d never forgive, as his final words were “I did not get my SpaghettiO’s. I got Spaghetti. I want the press to know this.”
10. Stephen Wayne Anderson
Grasso isn’t the only one to throw a seemingly random ingredient into the mix when concocting the perfect final meal. Stephen Wayne Anderson was a pretty deadly criminal who did burglary, assault and 8 counts of murder including that of a fellow prisoner, but his food choices were interesting, to say the least. Before his execution in California in 2002, the 48-year-old requested 2 grilled cheese sandwiches, a pint of cottage cheese, a hominy corn mixture, peach pie and chocolate chip ice cream and – oh, a big helping of radishes on the side.
9. Peter J. Miniel
Convicted killer Peter J. Miniel could give Lawrence Russel Brewer a run for his money for one of the biggest orders ever served on death row in 2004.
Miniel confessed to his crimes of murder and robbery and was ‘ready to pay the price’, but not before he gorged himself on this whopping order. He requested: 20 beef tacos, 20 beef enchiladas, 2 double cheeseburgers, a pizza with jalapenos, fried chicken, spaghetti with salt and a modest desert of ½ a chocolate cake, ½ a vanilla cake, cookies & cream ice cream, caramel pecan fudge ice cream, and a small fruit cake. To wash it all down he also had two lots of Coke, Pepsi, root beer and orange juice – maybe he intended to explode Henry 8th style before facing the music.
8. Velma Barfield
This sweet god-fearing grandmother was notorious as the ‘death-row granny’ after it transpired that the mysterious deaths of almost everyone in her life were part of a lethal string of deliberate poisonings. Velma Barfield was the first woman put to death in the US in 22 years when she was executed by lethal injection in 1982, but not before she was granted one final meal. A cup of tea, a slice of coffee cake or a fruit scone seems fitting for a grandma’s last meal wish, right? But all Barfield really wanted was a packet of Cheez Doodles and a can of Coke.
But, for a devout Christian old lady who also killed 6 people, what can you really expect?
7. Robert Alton Harris
When you’re ordering your final meal on death row, it’s important to cover all bases – and why agonize over which takeaway to get when you can combine the lot? This is exactly what murderer Robert Alton Harris did in 1992 when he requested a 21-piece bucket of KFC and two large dominoes pizzas alongside a 6-pack of Pepsi with ice cream and a bag of jellybeans for dessert and a packet of Camel cigarettes for good measure.
His finals words are what people remember him for. He said, “you can be a king or a street sweeper, but everybody dances with the grim reaper.” Kinda prophetic for a seasoned criminal, don’t you think?
6. Ronnie Lee Gardner
Plenty of death-row criminals have used their final meal as an opportunity to make smart choices, and Ronnie Lee Gardner was one of them. He determined to make his sitting last as long as possible. His death sentence for murder came in 1985, but he faced the death penalty in 2010.
He didn’t go too overboard on his order of steak, lobster tail, apple pie with vanilla ice cream and a 7up, but he also had another request – to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy while eating it.
Surprisingly, Gardner got the permission to do so. With a combined runtime of more than 11 hours, this must’ve been the longest last meal ever.
5. Philip Workman
When Philip Workman faced execution in 2007 for the murder of a policeman in 1982, his own Gluttony was the last thing on Philips’ mind when he requested his final meal. His final request was for a large vegetarian pizza to be given to a random homeless person, but prison officials refused to do so, and he ate nothing.
In a surprising turnout, on the day of his death on May 9th, homeless shelters in Tennessee received large amounts of vegetarian pizzas from people all over the country – so at least he did one good deed before his death.
4. Angel Nieves Diaz
Philip Workman may have gone hungry because of his strangely selfless request, but Angel Nieves Diaz deliberately turned down his last meal. Diaz’s list of crimes included murder, kidnap and armed robbery but he maintained his innocence right up until his execution in 2006.
As he didn’t order anything special, the authority served him the regular Wednesday prison menu of shredded turkey with taco seasoning, cheese, rice, pinto beans, tortilla shells, apple crisp, and ice cream.
As surprisingly nice as that sounds, Diaz refused to eat that too – and in his final words he condemned the death penalty as “a form of vengeance, but also a cowardly act by humans”.
3. Oba Chandler
The judge found Chandler guilty of the murder of a woman and her two daughters in 1989 and sentenced him to death in the year 2011. For Oba’s last meal, he ordered two salami sandwiches on white bread with mustard and peanut butter, and a grape jelly sandwich on white bread with iced tea and a coffee.
With all that bread, it’s safe to say, ‘’another one bites the crust’’.
2. Robert Dale Conklin
Robert Dale Conklin faced his death sentence in Georgia in 2005 but not before he requested a meal worthy of a five-star restaurant. Conklin clearly had an expensive taste as he requested filet mignon wrapped in bacon, de-veined shrimp sautéed in garlic butter with lemon, baked potato with sour cream, chives and real bacon bits, corn on the cob, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, French bread with butter, goat cheese, cantaloupe, vanilla bean ice cream, and iced tea.
Unfortunately, his sophisticated taste did not match the nature of his crimes, as he killed his gay lover with a screwdriver to the ear – the criminal mind works in mysterious ways.
1. James Edward Smith
This convicted felon had one of the most bizarre last-meal requests ever recorded. James Edward Smith was handed the death sentence for fatally shooting a man during an armed robbery in Texas in 1983, and, when it came down to his final meal request in 1990, all he wanted was a lump of soil.
© Last Meals Fandom & FWI
Some people speculated that he wanted to chow down on the dirt, but others were skeptical. They thought he planned to perform a voodoo ritual as the soil was the rhaekunda type, associated with witchcraft.
As dirt was not on the list of foods permitted by prison regulations, the authority denied his request and served him a cup of yogurt instead – which, of course, is the only reasonable alternative.
So, what would you order if you were in their position? And which meal intrigued you the most? Let me know in the comments down below.