Tuesday, May 06, 2003

May 6, 2003

Our second Psalms this week...first 144, now 103...

Last Meal: a double meat cheeseburger with everything, a baked potato, a salad, a Coke and butter pecan ice cream.

The Skinny: Vaughn was put to death for the 1991 slaying of a North Texas woman. Vaughn was being held on forgery and robbery charges in Lubbock when he fled the county jail in October of 1991. He was a trusty at the time. Two days later, the 66-year-old victim was raped and strangled at her home. When Vaughn escaped from the jail, he was by himself, outside, and unsupervised. "He was a trustee at the time, and he was out on the courthouse lawn raking leaves, when he decided to leave," says an investigator.

Rampage: Vaughn tracked down a friend, convinced him he had been paroled, then got the friend drunk, knocked him out and stole his truck and money. That friend was left mentally disabled, laying in a cottonfield near Idalou. He drove east to Electra, midway between Wichita Falls and Vernon, and tried to call victim's son, an acquaintance, to get some money. Instead, he reached the victim and made arrangements to stop by the next day. Vaughn said he visited the victim, then left.

Point/Counterpoint: "He's just a mean fellow," said Dan Mike Bird, the Wilbarger County district attorney who convinced a jury Vaughn should be put to death.

"I've never murdered anybody," Vaughn insisted last week in an interview on death row. "I just fit the bill. "I didn't know the woman died."

Alibi: Vaughn contending he later picked up a hitchhiker who left a package in his car. Inside the package, he said, were jewelry, credit cards and a checkbook belonging to Watkins. "I hocked the rings," he said. "I needed money. I wrote a couple of checks."

Evidence: "The most damning evidence is she had a bite on her face and that bite absolutely matched with his teeth impression," the prosecutor said. "I didn't know at the time, but learned through this case that bite marks are a lot like fingerprints."

Last Words and such: Prison officials say Vaughn smiled, laughed, and mouthed to relatives that he loved them, but made no final statement. Instead Vaughn asked a prison chaplain to read Psalm 103 (see below), which talks about God's compassion and repeatedly uses and ends with the phrase, "Praise the Lord, oh my soul."

Just before the lethal drugs began to take effect, he said, "My hand is about to pop down here," turning his head toward his left hand, where a needle was inserted.

Factoid: This was the 14th execution in Texas this year. He was the 303rd inmate executed by Texas since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982.

Psalms 103

103:1 [A Psalm] of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, [bless] his holy name.

103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

103:3 Who forgiveth all thy iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

103:4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies;

103:5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good [things]; [so that] thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.

103:6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

103:7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the children of Israel.

103:8 The LORD [is] merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in mercy.

103:9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep [his anger] for ever.

103:10 He hath not dealt with us according to our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

103:11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, [so] great is his mercy towards them that fear him.

103:12 As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

103:13 Like as a father pitieth [his] children, [so] the LORD pitieth them that fear him.

103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we [are] dust.

103:15 [As for] man, his days [are] as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

103:16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and its place shall know it no more.

103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness to
children's children;

103:18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

103:19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

103:20 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word.

103:21 Bless ye the LORD, all [ye] his hosts; [ye] ministers of his, that do his pleasure.

103:22 Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

May 6, 2003

A long time comin'...

Last Meal: Isaacs had ordered a last meal of pork and macaroni, pinto beans, sauteed cabbage, carrot salad, dinner roll, chocolate cake and fruit punch. But, he refused it.

The skinny: Isaacs was executed for orchestrating the slaying of six members of a farm family during a burglary. It was once described as the most gruesome in the state's history. Isaacs, 49, spent more time on death row than any other person in the United States At the time of the murders, Isaacs was on the run after having escaped from a minimum-security prison camp in Maryland. The crime triggered a national manhunt for the killers. Isaacs, his younger brother Billy, half brother Wayne Coleman and George Dungee, were arrested for the crime one week later in West Virginia. Days after the capture of the four men, the brother of the victim's was approached with an offer of vigilante justice by the outraged residents of the community.

The Supremes: The Supreme Court refused to grant a last-minute stay, although Justices John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer said the court should have agreed to consider Isaacs' claim that it was unconstitutional to execute him after his long imprisonment. Justice Clarence Thomas, a native of Georgia, did not participate.

Aftermath: The killings prompted legislation that requires victims' families to be notified of developments in death penalty cases and inspired the 1988 movie "Murder One," starring James Wilder as Isaacs. The killings also prompted more residents to buy guns.

Final Days and such: Isaacs, through his lawyer, offered remorse for the killings, saying he was not the same hotheaded person who committed the crime at 19.

The Alday family was unmoved, citing Isaacs' own boastful words in a series of 1975 prison interviews.

"I'd like to get out and kill more of them," he said at the time. "They represent the type of society I don't like. I didn't know them, had never seen them before May 14, but I didn't like them. Working people don't do a damn thing for me." Isaacs, during the interviews, compared himself to notorious 1930s outlaw John Dillinger.

Final Words and such: Isaacs suffered from cancer and wore a colostomy bag into the death chamber. Isaacs declined an opportunity to make a final statement, but did ask for a final prayer. After the prayer he mouthed Amen.

Factoids: Two other men are serving life sentences for the murders. A third was released from prison in 1993.

It was the first time in state history that Georgia officials allowed members of the victims family to witness the execution.

Monday, May 05, 2003


Anthony S. from parts unknown sends us, first, to food.com to see what the heck some of his items were and next, to the store to buy them as we take a bite out of the ass of life. Plus. it is nice to see Southern Comfort...memories of a Queen concert in 1979. Yeah, we rock.

1 Lb Mortadella, sliced thin, 1 Lb Prosciutto, sliced, 1/2Lb Provolone, 1/4 Lb Smoked Gouda, 1/4 Lb Pecorino Romano, 3 loaves of fresh baked french bread, 4 large Ripe Tomatoes, 1 pint Black Olives, unpitted,1Qt Broccolli di Rape, fried in olive oil with garlic pieces, Breaded and Fried slices of Eggplant, 1 bottle of Southern Comfort Black label, and 12-liter bottle of Diet Coke.

May 2, 2003

...he ate a lot of candy...

Last meal: Hough declined a last meal.

The skinny: Hough was executed for killing two men during a robbery in 1985. Hough also murdered a Polish immigrant eleven days earlier. Hough was sentenced to 60 years in prison for that murder.

According to testimony at Hough's trial, the victim's were holding some belongings of Hough's cousin, who owed them money for a room he rented from them. Hough went to the home to get the belongings. Hough pulled a gun on the men and ordered them to get down on the floor. Hough's half-brother, Duane testified one victim threw a remote control at Hough and Hough shot him. The other victim got on the floor, but Hough still shot him in the back.

Last days and such: Hough spent Thursday with his priest. Hough had the priest read Psalm 144 (see below) to ask God for strength. The priest said. “He was very calm, making phone calls to his family and friends, listening to music and watching TV. He also ate a lot of candy. Then the chaplain anointed Hough with oil, gave him communion and heard his confession. But Hough did not admit any role in the murders.

Last moments and words and such: In the moments before his death, Hough expressed compassion for the families of three men he was convicted of brutally murdering in Fort Wayne 17 years ago. He did not admit his guilt. "I hope the victims' families get some measure of satisfaction," Hough said shortly before he was put to death. "Hopefully, their grief won't be as much."

Factoids: One murder victim's relatives weren't able to watch the execution, but they were outside the Michigan City prison when Hough was put to death.

Due to remodeling, Hough and the other 39 death-row inmates were moved from Indiana State Prison to the Maximum Control Facility at the Westville Correctional Facility. The other death-row inmates will be returned to Michigan City when remodeling at the state prison is complete.

Hough was the 10th person put to death by the state of Indiana since Indiana resumed executions in 1981, and the 82nd overall.

Psalm 144

1 Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.

2 He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.

3 O LORD , what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?

4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.

5 Part your heavens, O LORD , and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke.

6 Send forth lightning and scatter {the enemies}; shoot your arrows and rout them.

7 Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners

8 whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.

9 I will sing a new song to you, O God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,

10 to the One who gives victory to kings, who delivers his servant David from the deadly sword.

11 Deliver me and rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.

12 Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.

13 Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision. Our sheep will increase by thousands, by tens of thousands in our fields;

14 our oxen will draw heavy loads. There will be no breaching of walls, no going into captivity, no cry of distress in our streets.

15 Blessed are the people of whom this is true; blessed are the people whose God is the LORD .


From the NYTimes...


The Democratic-controlled State Senate has passed a bill that would stop executions until June 1, 2005, so that legislators can examine the fairness of the legal system in capital cases. Last week, for the second time in five months, a state court threw out a death sentence because prosecutors had withheld important evidence. The bill now goes to the evenly divided House, where passage is expected to be more difficult. The moratorium would be the first passed by a Southern legislature, said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.


Sorry about the lag. The editors of dme.com hit the midwest for a little baseball tour. 3 guys, 3 cities, 3 games, 24 hot dogs, ?? beers, a couple of pork sandwiches, nachos, one pina colada in Detroit (mmmm...), various ice cream products and, at ice cold Wrigley, watered-down hot chocolate that was the best thing I ever tasted. Plus, we hit four places from the great book, "Eating Your Way Across the U.S.A." Highly recommend that book to all diners, death-row or otherwise.

But, we are back to biz tonight. The reader's last meals keep pouring in, including our first from Africa, South Africa that is and we have a little issue of a reservation in Indiana from last week that we need to update you on.

Check back late tonight or early tomorrow morn. First, I need some zzzz's and something for an upset stomach.