NORTH CAROLINA LAST MEAL
JOSEPH EARL BATES
September 26, 2003
A blow to the "Give a friend a lift" movement....
Last Meal: Bates ordered a last meal of fried pork chops, French fries, hush puppies, apple pie, a Pepsi and a Dr Pepper.
The skinny: Bates was executed for the murder of a man he agreed to give him a ride home from a bar.
Upset and trying to discover who had fired shots into his house two weeks earlier, Bates agreed to give an acquaintance a ride home from a bar. During the ride, the car was stopped and Bates struck the man three times on the back of the head with a shovel, appearing to knock him unconscious. When the man began to moan, Bates struck him again, hog-tied him, and then placed him in the vehicle. On the way back to his campsite, Bates stopped at another friend's house and said, "I’ve got one of the guys that’s been messing with me. Do you want to watch or help?" All his friends declined and Bates drove to a campsite, and tied Jenkins to a tree, continuing to beat and threaten him for information. Bates then untied Jenkins, took him to the back of the truck, and shot him in the neck. Upon questioning, Bates gave a complete confession to police.
Lotsa Legal Machinations: Bates was convicted of first-degree murder and kidnapping in 1991 but his conviction and death sentence were overturned because he didn't receive funds for a mental health expert.
The expert in his second trial in 1994 didn't know about his brain injury. He was convicted and resentenced to death for the 1990 slaying.
A federal appeal said Bates was poorly represented by appeals lawyers after he was convicted. The petition said one lawyer spent very little time on the case, billing only 12 minutes in 1998, and the other was ineffective because he was depressed.
Bates' lawyers asked the governor this week to convert Bates' sentence to life in prison because they said brain damage from a car wreck contributed to the murder, which happened three years later.
Final words and such: "I haven't really give it any thought," Bates said when asked by prison warden Marvin Polk for last words before being wheeled into the steel-walled execution chamber. "Let's see. Hebrews, Chapter 13, Verse 6, they can read it."
The verse says: "So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
Memorable quote: "It's just an ending of the case," said Yadkin County Sheriff Michael Cain. "Certain crimes are going to be met with certain penalties."
Bates was the....
56th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
876th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
3rd murderer executed in North Carolina in 2003
26th murderer executed in North Carolina since 1976