Friday, November 07, 2003

November 7, 2003

An uneven keel...

Last Meal: Keel ordered a last meal of fried chicken breast and wing, a biscuit, seasoned rice and a diet Coke along with a T-bone steak without the bone, mushrooms and onions.

The skinny: Keel was put to death for killing his father-in-law, on July 10, 1990. Keel confessed to luring the man, with whom he lived, to an isolated area on an Edgecombe County hog farm where Keel worked. Keel shot the man in the head with a .22 caliber rifle and later told police a shot was fired from another car as it drove past.

In his last statement, Keel challenged the judge who presided over his trial for not telling jurors they could decide he acted in self-defense. He contended in his confession that he shot the man a second time after he came after for him with a knife.

Last words and such: A smiling Keel was rolled in the death chamber at 1:50 a.m., and he appeared to be happy. For 10 minutes the Tarboro native spoke words that could not be heard due to the two-inch glass separating the witness room and the death chamber. Seconds before 2 a.m. Keel said his final words, closed his eyes and never opened them again. Those final words--"I love you." to four of his friends sitting in front of the execution chamber witness room.

At his request, no one in Keel's family witnessed the execution.

Many Legal Machinations: Keel's lawyer had fought for clemency throughout the week. His legal team raised at least three legal issues, including their client, having an IQ of 70, was mentally retarded. Prosecutors disagreed and argued that Keel's IQ was 87.

Defense lawyer Jay Ferguson said Keel had the mental ability of a fifth-grader and suffered mental illness from an early age because his uncles plied him with alcohol. The defense also said Keel suffered brain injuries at birth as well as when he was later hit by a steel beam.

Keel had received two stays before he was executed.

LEGISLATIVE MACHINATIONS: At a rally at N.C. Central University, supporters of a death penalty moratorium called on the governor to stop executions. Speakers said a moratorium was needed while the fairness of North Carolina's death penalty was studied.

The state Senate approved a moratorium bill last year and the House is expected to consider it this session.

Factoids: Outside the prison, approximately 50 people stood protesting the execution while four stood on the opposite side of the road supporting it.

Two more executions are scheduled, and if all are carried out the total will be the highest since 1949, when 10 executions occurred.

Keel was the....
60th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
880th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
5th murderer executed in North Carolina in 2003
28th murderer executed in North Carolina since 1976

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Last week Spanish filmmakers...this week, Swedes. Can anyone help them out?

The e-mail...

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice posts final meal requests dating back 21 years, and officials say the list is the most popular part of their Web site. Brian Price, a former Texas prisoner who prepared 171 final meals in Huntsville, is publishing a cookbook called Meals to Die For.

Please My name is Lars Bergstrom, and I¹m currently doing research for a Swedish
TV-documentary dealing with the history and contemporary tradition of the last supper. We are trying to map different cultures and countries use of this last gesture of mercy in connection with the death penalty. The film will discuss pro and against issues of the capital punishment through focusing on this ritual. Please can any body help me to get in contact with Brian Price

With best regards,
Lars Bergstrom

If you can help Lars, he can be reached at

I for one, look forward to Brian Price's recipe for Texas Death Row Fried Chicken...a favorite culinary craving of the Lone Star condemned.

November 4, 2003

I feel not-so-good...

Last Meal: Brown ate all of his last meal, a foot-long chili dog with everything, French fries, a dill pickle, strawberry ice cream and a 7-Up.

The skinny: Brown was executed for raping a topless dancer while she suffocated on her panties.. James Willie Brown killed the woman 28 years ago after the two met for a steak dinner and a night of dancing. He later tied her up, raped her and left her dead body near a trash pile.

Past Legal machinations: Browns guilt was not in doubt, but his lawyers argued he was insane and should have been resentenced to life in prison without parole. Upon Brown's arrest, he at first denied even knowing the woman, but later admitted to the rape and murder. After being found incompetent to stand trial, Brown was committed to a state mental institution until 1981 when he was found competent, convicted, and sentenced to death. In 1988, a federal court overturned the conviction due to questions about his mental competency. In 1991 Brown was retried and again convicted and sentenced to death. Brown had repeatedly avoided being killed by the state he had been sentenced to death twice, and a judge canceled his execution in November 2002 a few hours before it was to take place.

Last words and such: Brown made no comment before his lethal injection.

When asked whether he wanted to make a final statement or prayer, Brown merely shook his head and said no.

He died alone except for government and media witnesses --none of his attorneys showed up.

A group of eight protesters held a candlelight vigil at the prison entrance Tuesday night.

Factoids: The victim's last meal was a takeout dinner of steak and potatoes.

Brown's brother once described his brother as "the devil's son.".

Brown was the...

59th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
879th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
3rd murderer executed in Georgia in 2003
34th murderer executed in Georgia since 1976