SOUTH CAROLINA LAST MEAL
JAMES NEIL TUCKER
May 28, 2004
...the ole "I only shot her a second time to put her out of her misery" story...
Last Meal: The condemned man ordered pizza, Mountain Dew and two bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches.
The skinny: Tucker, the first inmate to die in the South Carolina electric chair in nearly 10 years, was executed for two murders committed during a brutal two-week crime spree in mid-1992.
The total amount of cash Tucker stole from the two murdered women--$34.
Tucker testified he shot the first victim when she tried to grab the gun. As he was leaving, he shot her again to "put her out of her misery."
Priors: Friday's execution ended a life of crime for Tucker. He was sent to an adult prison at 17 for raping an 8-year-old girl and an 83-year-old woman in Utah.
He escaped three times from prison while serving that sentence from 1974 to 1991. Last month, Tucker tried to escape from death row by threatening a guard with a safety razor blade melted into a toothbrush. He was recaptured minutes later.
Last words and such: Although a curtain blocked any view during the preparation period inside the electrocution chamber, the sound of a baritone voice singing a hymn could be heard coming from behind the curtain.
Associate Pastor Eddie Morris afterward said the song explained that the hymn was "Through It All," a melody stressing that God will be with the sinner during their darkest hour.
At exactly 6 p.m., that curtain opened to reveal Tucker wearing a bright green prison jumpsuit, strapped in the electric chair with two-inch wide leather belts.
Tucker's attorney, Teresa Norris of Columbia, read his final statement.
"To everyone, I have thought of a million things to say, but they can all be summed up like this. To those I have harmed, my abject apologies and regrets. I am ashamed.
"To those who must remain and deal with this insane world, my condolences. But be of good cheer. Christ has overcome the world! I know that my redeemer lives. I am leaving this world with a cheerful attitude. Hallelujah."
The inmate's mouth was then covered with a leather mask. Moments later, a leather hood was placed over his head.
Factoids: South Carolina allows inmates to choose lethal injection, but Tucker's lawyer said he felt if he made a choice about how he should die, he would be condoning his own death.
Tucker is the 247th inmate to die in South Carolina's electric chair, which was built in 1912. But he is only the second to be electrocuted since the state first offered lethal injection in 1995.
Tucker was the...
27th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
912th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
4th murderer executed in South Carolina in 2004
32nd murderer executed in South Carolina since 1976