Texecutions Resume With Huge Last Meal Request

Karl Chamberlain was executed in Texas tonight, the first texecution since the Supreme Court ruled the three drug lethal injection cocktail does not violate the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

It took 9 minutes to kill Chamberlain. He made a last statement which included:

"I am so terribly sorry. I wish I could die more than once."

Chamberlain ordered the largest last meal of any death row inmate in Texas history. [More...]

Here's what he ordered, and Texas officials said they would do their best to provide it:

_Fresh fruit tray (as many different fruits as possible), fresh orange slices, apples, sliced watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, peaches, plums, grapes, strawberries.

_Fresh vegetable tray with carrot sticks, celery, two tomatoes-sliced, lettuce, cucumber slices, olives, sweet pickles and any other fresh vegetables.

_Slices of cheese and lunchmeat. Serve with a bowl of ranch dressing, two deviled eggs; six jalapenos stuffed with cheese, breaded and fried.

_A chef salad, ranch dressing on the side.

_A plate of onion rings, ketchup and hot sauce on the side.

_One half-pound of french fries, covered with melted, shredded cheese, salsa, jalapenos and ranch dressing on the side.

_A bacon double cheeseburger, smothered with grilled onions, three to four slices of cheese and mayonnaise with garlic and onion powder mixed in.

_Two pieces of fried chicken, breasts preferred, or substitute two thighs and two legs.

_One bean and cheese quesadilla, salsa and jalapeno to the side. Sour cream or guacamole if possible.

_A three-egg omelet with grilled onions, mushrooms, ham and lots of cheese. Ketchup to the side.

_Two barbecue pork rolls.

_A pitcher of orange juice (only a little ice).

_A pitcher of milk.

_No dessert.

What if it had taken him until tomorrow to eat all this, could they still have executed him? Probably yes. I'm not sure what to make of the meal request other than to be pleased that at least he didn't die hungry.

[Hat tip to Rev. Mr. George Brooks J.D.]

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    I hope those 9 (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by mg7505 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:14:32 PM EST
    minutes were without physical pain, since there was probably enough emotional agony waiting it out. Rest in peace, Mr. Chamberlain. And here's to a moratorium on this barbaric practice.

    Nine minutes seems like an awfully long (none / 0) (#3)
    by PssttCmere08 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:22:22 PM EST
    time, but then my only point of reference, i.e. executions, is what I see on TV.  Will be a great day when we are no longer participating in these practices....that last meal...oh my!

    I'm wondering if maybe the first (none / 0) (#11)
    by nycstray on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 12:13:51 AM EST
    and/or second drug take a bit of time before the last is given?

    I know with animals that are given a pre-sedative, you have time between the 2 shots (well, depending on vet/drugs/pet reaction)


    Agreed. (none / 0) (#4)
    by A little night musing on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:22:30 PM EST
    9 minutes - a long time.

    This is when I am ashamed of being a Texan (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by txpolitico67 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:25:11 PM EST
    this place glorifies the death penalty.  It gives people here some sense of moral superiority that "justice was served".  Texans who espouse this are mired in their paleozoic thinking and using the BuyBull (4th commandment anyone?) as their defense for killing.

    For ONE minute, I wish all those who support CP would be in that gurney and seeing someone come at them with that needle.  Those f***ers would change their minds in a HEARTBEAT!

    I am SO sorry Mr Chambelain that my home state doesn't see fit to do what's right and kill.

    One reason I hate this state (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by roadburdened on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:25:59 PM EST
    Is the death penalty (that and the police scandals in Austin).

    That is one hell of a last meal. I would have added biscuits and gravy.

    Wow, his last words made me cry (none / 0) (#1)
    by bjorn on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:13:20 PM EST
    and his last meal made me, well feel very full.  The death penalty is a bigger shame on our country than just about anything else I can think of right now.

    Must say, I'm a bit (none / 0) (#7)
    by suisser on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:29:47 PM EST
    disturbed that I clicked on the last meal link.  And was very, very curious.
    Really not too pleased with myself.
    Shameful practice we have... shameful
    Executions are so beneath what we are capable of.

    geez, if that last meal didn't kill (none / 0) (#9)
    by cpinva on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:54:04 PM EST
    him, i'm not sure how anything else could. i wonder though, assuming he ate even half of that, if it contributed to time it took for the chemicals to take effect?

    food absorbs alcohol in the stomach, causing it to take longer to enter the blood stream. does it have the same effect on those chemicals? except the chemicals are being injected directly into a vein.

    Just an aside (none / 0) (#10)
    by roadburdened on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 12:08:37 AM EST
    This isn't meant to trivialize the legal and ethical arguments for and against CP, but I wonder what effect this has on the victim's family. I wonder how a family functions when their sense of justice is tied to the execution date (over a decade after the trial). I don't think one ever gets over the traumas life throws, but that can't make it easier.

    Heh... (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jackson Hunter on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 12:14:21 AM EST
    I'm fighting the snark monster that is demanding a wisecrack about "No Dessert", the subject is just too serious to be all that snarky about it.

    The Death Penalty is one of the few issues (gun control being another) is where I venture off the doctrinaire Liberal reservation.  Intellectually, I cannot support it, as it does cost far more to execute someone than it does to imprison them.  Its deterrence value is debatable at best, but I feel it is not the deterrent that its avid supporters claim (Texas being the prime example of vast numbers of executions with little reduction in violent crime.)  It is unfairly and unevenly applied, if you are poor or a minority (and Dog help you if you're both) you are far more likely to be executed than a rich, influential person.  

    (My example has always been Gates, not that he would ever do anything like my proposed scenario, but Gates could go on MSNBC and rape, torture and eviscerate a little boy while a Psychiatrist pronounced him mentally stable as he did so and he would never be executed.  That is sadly a fact.  [If it were a little girl, I'm sure that Olbermann and Tweety would offer to help-snark.])

    Also, too many innocent people have been "cleared" just hours away from their fate for any reasonable person to be too bloodthirsty about the Death Penalty in general.  There is no adequate recompense after you have already killed an innocent person, a "I'm sorry" and a few million bucks to the family (and they probably won't even get that just doesn't cut it for me.

    All that said, my gut/heart tells me there are some people so guilty, so vile and undeserving of the slightest mercy, that I hope that the three-drug cocktail is painful.  I don't feel one whit bad for Ted Bundy as he got his butt fried.  I hope that SOB down in Fla. or wherever it was that buried that 9 year old girl alive suffers like the piece of garbage he is, I'd gladly push the plunger on a reprobate like that.  Maybe that makes me a bloodthirsty buffoon, but I'm comfortable with that.

    A perfect case was up here in WA state, a one Mitchell Rupe (I'm guessing on the spelling).  One day in the late 70's or early 80's he robbed a bank in Olympia, WA.  He got his money and the tellers cooperated fully, they followed procedure to a tee, and he left.  For whatever reason, he came back in and shot them execution style when he did not have to, he had gotten away.  He was tried and found guilty, and WA law at the time (and yes, the law was stupid, with some hard-*ss Legislator tried to be overly punitive by not just settling on one mode of execution, but this does not vindicate Rupe in any way) was that the Defendant had an option of choosing electrocution or hanging, and if they refused to choose, they got sentenced to hang.  Rupe refused to choose and got sentenced to hang.  So this rat-b*stard goes to Walla Walla, and ends up getting tremendously fat while eating at the snack center (wrong title, I know, but I don't know what they call it), so fat that his lawyer argued that it would be cruel and unusual punishment to hang him because he had gotten so fat that his poor widdle head might of popped off when they hung him.  (Well, too fricking bad you murdering sadist, maybe you should have thought about that while you were stuffing your face with Ho Hos.)  Of course, the argument worked, so they changed the mode to electrocution, which I think he is still awaiting if he hasn't died of liver failure yet.  Which is another irony of this whole deal, he, a Death Row convict, is on a liver donor list because he poor liver gave out.  The man should have been executed at least 10 years ago but instead is on a freakin' donor list.  Screw that, I wouldn't give that animal an aspirin if he asked, let alone a liver.  If that seems cold, just think that there is some people below him on that list who didn't murder anyone, so they should continue to suffer so this guy is a little more comfortable while he awaits his inevitable (and much deserved) death?  Sorry, that is where my liberalism dies, and I don't feel one bit bad about it at all.

    BTW, I'm not debating the law with a bunch of lawyers, because I'll lose very badly.  :)  I grant all of the intellectual arguments are against me, but in the end people are not Vulcans, we have emotions and our emotional needs have to be met.  Let me put it this way, the Duke in '88 won every intellectual argument against Bush in that campaign, and just how did that work out for us?  I'm not saying people should abandon their principles, they absolutely should not, but you can emphasize other principles that sell a little better.  Sorry, I'm going OT now, so I'll stop.

    Great subject Jeralyn.


    That would be... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Alec82 on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 12:29:35 AM EST
    ...the retributive argument.  A little more succinct.

     I am opposed to the death penalty, although it is not the most prominent concern of mine.  It is pretty low on the list, actually, with the drug war and sentencing reform at the top.  


    I agree... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Jackson Hunter on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 12:40:12 AM EST
    on the drug enforcement angle, we are clogging up our jails with non-violent offenders, and it is just insane.  We need to completely re-evaluate our whole "War on Drugs", as it is an obviously failed policy and a waste of resources.



    God (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jgarza on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 01:35:08 AM EST
    As a Texan these stories always embarrasses me, I swear some of us here dont support this horrid policy.

    We know (none / 0) (#16)
    by Alec82 on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 04:55:03 AM EST
    Hell, I live in CA, a death penalty state, and plenty of us oppose it.  Of course, I moved here from MI, where I never even really thought of the DP as a substantive issue.

     I feel awful for the large centrist and left wing portion of the TX electorate, on this and many other issues.


    I wish I could hate the death penalty (none / 0) (#17)
    by Grace on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 05:59:54 AM EST
    but I don't.  

    I feel that some people deserve death like Ted Bundy and Timothy McVeigh.  

    I realize that's it's not a deterent to crime.  

    I wish we could find a way to cut out the cost of giving these people the death penalty.  Perhaps the attorneys could be paid less?  (Ha ha!  I realize this is a "legal eagle" website.)  

    But still, I mean, Timothy McVeigh?  What do you suggest?  Life in jail?  Why?  I think there are certain circumstances that make the death penalty perfectly acceptable.  

    For the record, I'm against the death penalty in a lot of cases but I think it is totally called for in others.  

    I'm Not Quite There (none / 0) (#18)
    by daring grace on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 08:26:54 AM EST
    where you describe being re the capital punishment in certain cases. But almost. I oppose the death penalty, but...

    Bundy, in particular, maybe because I was more aware of the specifics of his crimes...when they executed him I was not as unhappy as I usually am to hear of it.

    Or maybe it was the sight of a white, educated defendant getting the punishment. Not a common sight, and look what he had to do to finally get there.

    Of course, if he'd stayed in Colorado which, I think at the time had no death penalty or else didn't execute often, versus escaping to Florida one of the hair trigger execution states at the time...


    obviously some people deserve to die (none / 0) (#19)
    by Arjun on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 08:34:31 AM EST
    but that doesn't mean that the state should distribute it.

    Look, if Timothy Mcveigh got hit by a bus, I wouldn't cry at his funeral... but all the same, I don't condone capital punishment.

    I think life in prison perfectly satisfies the requirement for retribution. Our legal system is founded on the premise that it is far better to let numerous guilty people off the hook than convict even one innocent person. This is reflected in our procedural safeguards including the fact that people are innocent until proven guilty, that their guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and that we have a wide range of due process rights to ensure the innocent are not convicted, even if it risks freeing the guilty.

    That said, human decisions are fallible, and the irrevocable harm of executing an innocent is inevitable. Richard Dieter explains,

    "This translates to a rate of over 1 innocent death row inmate for every 100 death sentences... the rate may be considerably higher, since extraordinary efforts are generally needed to free a death row inmate, and most inmates do not have those extra resources available to them. Professors Radelet and Bedau reported 416 cases this century of mistaken convictions in "potentially capital cases,"... [a] rate of about 4.5 innocent persons convicted each year in capital cases...Certainly, such a record would be totally unacceptable for a car company whose cars were so defective that they caused fatal crashes in 1 out of 100 vehicles."

    Whatever minimal benefit there may be from enacting a death sentence as opposed to life in prison with possibility of parole is dwarfed by the evil inherent in risking the irrevocable harm of executing an innocent person.


    I remember reading somewhere.... (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 09:48:58 AM EST
    that cheseburgers are the most requested last meal...what's up with that?

    If I've got a date with the needle, I'm ordering surf and turf.