Wednesday, October 29, 2003

From the DME mailbag...

Counting the days until the premiere...

I´m a spanish student of cinema and in this moment am producing an
video-art about the death penalty and the prisioner´s last meal, but we have some questions that from Spain are very difficult to answer.

If you will be able to help me, I´ll be very grateful to you.

1) The drinks like coke o dr.Pepper, are they servered with their can or in a plastic cup??

2) How are the trays where is servered the meal? Flat or with compartment.

3) How is the cutlery set? Metal – Plastic.

Thank you,

Victor R

Victor...thank you for your questions. The answers..
1) can
2) flat
3) plastic

And good luck with the project!

An article from the NYTimes that appeared early this month...

The highlights....

Critics Say Execution Drug May Hide Suffering

NASHVILLE, Oct. 1 — At the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution here, through a set of double doors next to several vending machines, a gurney stands ready to deliver prisoners to their executions by lethal injection.

Just about every aspect of the death penalty provokes acrimonious debate, but this method of killing, by common consensus, is as humane as medicine can make it. People who have witnessed injection executions say the deaths appeared hauntingly serene, more evocative of the operating room than of the gallows.

But a growing number of legal and medical experts are warning that the apparent tranquillity of a lethal injection may be deceptive. They say the standard method of executing people in most states could lead to paralysis that masks intense distress, leaving a wide-awake inmate unable to speak or cry out as he slowly suffocates.

....The chemical, pancuronium bromide, has been among those specified for use in lethal injections since Oklahoma first adopted that method of execution in 1977. Only now, though, is widespread attention starting to focus on it.

.....Pancuronium bromide paralyzes the skeletal muscles but does not affect the brain or nerves. A person injected with it remains conscious but cannot move or speak.

...."The subject gives all the appearances of a serene expiration when actually the subject is feeling and perceiving the excruciatingly painful ordeal of death by lethal injection," the judge, Ellen Hobbs Lyle, wrote, describing the worst-case scenario. "The Pavulon gives a false impression of serenity to viewers, making punishment by death more palatable and acceptable to society."

....The American Veterinary Medical Association condemns pancuronium bromide when it is the sole chemical used or when it is used in combination with the usual animal euthanasia drug, sodium pentobarbital. That is because, an association report in 2000 said, "the animal may perceive pain and distress after it is immobilized."

....Lethal injection is now the dominant way Americans are executed. It is used in all 38 states that have the death penalty except Nebraska, which uses electrocution. In 10 states, prisoners may choose between lethal injection and a second method, including hanging, firing squad, electrocution and lethal gas.

Welcome to the Halloween edition of Reader's Last Meals. Aptly, a couple are downright scary. Overall, I think this just beat international last meal month.

First, Pissed from (A hearty welcome to all the vistors from Pull up a chair, you will feel right at home here.

I would have two big burritos, the two pound kind! 2 Tacos, a 2 liter of Coke, some jalapeno peppers, a whole boston cream pie, and for desert I would have a couple of steak fajitas. mmmm last meals

Klownzo in Minneapolis, Minnesota goes Jackson Pollack with....

1/2 pound of rumaki, 1/2 raw onion. 1/4 chitterlings, 2 Taco Bell chili cheese burritos, and 3 scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend well. Hopefully Iwill blow chunks on the last walk.

Footnote: My last words would quote Johnny Garrett in Texas... "to my friends and family I love you... The rest of the world can kiss my ass"


1 lb. bacon
4 cans whole water chestnuts
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. brown sugar


Cut bacon in thirds. Wrap a strip of bacon around a water chestnut and poke a flat toothpick through the bacon and water chestnut. Continue wrapping water chestnuts with bacon until finished. Place each water chestnut that has been wrapped on broiler pan. Cook until bacon is crisp. Mix soy sauce and brown sugar together in bowl. Place each water chestnut with bacon in sauce and marinate for a couple of seconds. Serve hot. Serves 10.

A couple of gals who appear to attend Saint Louis University.

First, Chris A. of St. Louis, MO

Since I have several meals, appetizers, desserts that I just love - my request would be ridiculously huge. 16oz juicy fat steak (no bone, no fat) + bake tator, sour cream, chives & xtra butter; candied yams + cold turkey breast on white with mayo; chicken & seafood alfredo fettucini & cheese tortellini; Taco Bell: nachos supreme + 2 taco supremes + chicken soft taco supreme; Steak n Shake: 2 large cheese fries + double steak burger with lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, mayo and mustard + cup of chili; chicken fried chicken with white gravy + fried chicken breast + mashed tators, gravy & corn; potato skins, shrimp cocktail, cheese sticks & toasted ravioli with marinara sauce; Olive Garden: calamari with marinara sauce, & 2 orders of mussels; Chili's: southwestern eggrolls + corn on cob; Jacks pepperoni pizza & Dominos pepperoni & pineapple on thin crust pizza; chicken caesar salad; sweet n sour chicken, crab ragoon (4) + egg rolls (3) with sweet n sour sauce; Grandma's pot roast with carrots & xtra tators + taco plate & tortilla chips + debris and toasted rolls + chicken rice n roni + tuna noodle casserole; deer salami, cheddar cheese and HiHo crackers; scrambled eggs, ham & cheese omelet, Denny's covered and smothered hash browns, toast with butter and grape jelly, bowl of malto meal with brown sugar and brown sugar oatmeal; White Castles: lg. choc. shake + double cheese burger + cheese fries; bowl of rice chex cereal and milk; DQ: lg. banana pudding blizzard; orange; scoop of mint choc. chip & choc. chip cookie dough ice cream in waffle cone (Six Flags); plain cheese cake; fresh strawberries and powdered sugar; moist choc. cake (no icing) & vanilla ice cream; root beer float; 2L cherry coke with ice; sweetened tea; & finally 1 gallon 2% milk.

I think that is all of my favorites and would want to experience each and everyone of them one last time before I was put to death.

And, Clare of Fairview Heights, IL

If I were to have to have a last meal it would include the following items. A dozen fried shrimp with cocktail sauce, one order of crab ragoon with sweet and sour sauce, one order of fried rice with soy sauce, nacho supreme from Taco Bell, chicken soft taco supreme from
Taco Bell, chicken mcnuggets with honey and bbq sauce, 5 orders of cheese fries from Steak n' Shake, one pint of Ben and Jerry's Uncanny Cashew ice cream, 2 cheese enchiladas, one chicken quesadilla, sour cream, one large BBQ chicken Hawaiian Pizza from Papa Johns, chicken fried chicken with white cream gravy, one turtle cheesecake from the Cheesecake
Factory, one pint of Rocky Road ice cream, five toasted ravioli, five potato skins, one gooey butter cake, chocolate chip cookies (hot out of the oven), gallon of 2% milk, one bacon cheese burger from Burger King, one roast beef and cheddar sandwich from Arby's, one box of Coca Puffs cereal, one order of smashed potatos with lots of butter and cheddar
cheese, some grapes, a chocolate malt,one chocolate frosty from Wendy's,
lots of Cherry Coke and finally one bag of Milky Way candy bars. Really now....who is really going to watch their figure on death row. I am going all out!

Perhaps a list of what these two gals don't want is in order...

This date in history....

On this day in …

* 1901, President McKinley's assassin, Leon Czolgosz, was electrocuted.

Czolgosz was executed only six weeks after the shooting, after a speedy trial that attracted little opposition.


October 29, 2003

"It was Joh_"

Last Meal: Smith had no last meal, but ate ice cream and granola bars throughout the day leading up to the execution.

The skinny:Smith was executed for killing his ex-girlfriend and her stepfather after she broke off their relationship. One month later Smith drove to the home and entered through the basement door, then took off his shoes and went upstairs.

Once inside, he went to victim's bedroom, and attacked her with a knife. In the living room and kitchen area, Smith scuffled with the woman, stabbing and cutting her eight times. She did not die immediately, and as she lay dying, she wrote, "It was Joh_." on the kitchen floor in her own blood.

Smith then went toward the stepfather's bedroom and attacked him. Smith pushed the man onto the bed, got on top of him, and started stabbing him. He was cut and stabbed eleven times in the chest, arms, leg, hand, and hip; he died from loss of blood.

No Legal Machinations: Smith had waived all appeals, saying he deserved to die for the 1997 stabbings.

Last Day: Smith had access Tuesday to forms for 11th-hour federal appeals, but made no use of them. He spent his final day quietly, without visitors, eating ice cream and granola bars and at times talking with relatives by telephone.

Smith rejected interview requests in the days before his death. His push to halt appeals of his death sentence dated to at least mid-2001, when he told the judge who condemned him that he was "totally guilty," "very sorry," mentally fit to abandon his legal challenges and ready to die "once and for all."

"The punishment of death is suitable,"
he wrote then.

Last words and such: "First of all I want to tell the whole family of the victims just how truly sorry I am for all the pain and grief I have caused you by my actions," he said in his final statement. "I sincerely have been praying for all of you. I only ask that somewhere down life's road, you can find it in your hearts to forgive me."

Maybe not... Bridie Brooks, a sister of the victim, shouted "Burn in hell" from behind the glassed-off witness area at the Potosi Correctional Center.

Factoids: Smith was the:

58th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
878th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Missouri in 2003
61st murderer executed in Missouri since 1976

A distrubing headline: "NEMO Killer Executed By Lethal Injection"

On further investigation, NEMO stands for NorthEast MissOuri. That cute fish from the summer blockbuster "Finding NEMO" is safe and will be swimming toward you in a sequel real soon.