Last Meals of Infamous Criminals on Death Row

What would your death row meal be?


I have a question. Have you ever thought about what your last meal would be if you were on death row? I have. Mine would be my three favorites: al pastor street tacos, cookie dough ice cream, and cheese fries from Outback Steakhouse (don’t challenge me on this, they’re the best out there). 

For this week’s Nibble we tracked down the last meals of some famous (or rather, infamous) criminals. Let’s take a nibble ;)

Some skipped the food entirely, preferring to drink instead

  • In most prisons, inmates are denied alcohol. However, murderer Gary Gilmore was allowed three shots of Jack Daniels whiskey with his hamburger, baked potato, hard-boiled egg, and coffee prior to his execution in 1977

  • Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi colonel convicted of war crimes was executed in 1962. He declined food and requested a bottle of Carmel, a dry red wine from Israel

  • Aileen Wuornos was executed by lethal injection in 2002 despite proclaiming to the bitter end that the seven homicides she was accused of committing were acts of self-defense (riiiiiiight, Aileen, sure). She declined a final meal, but instead asked for a single cup of coffee

  • Fritz Haarman, known as the "Butcher of Hanover," was a German serial killer who was beheaded in 1925 for the murder of 24 people. His request was to smoke an expensive cigar and drink a cup of Brazilian coffee

Some chose meals that were… unique 

  • Ted Bundy, the infamous serial killer, confessed to the murder of at least 30 people shortly before his execution in 1989. He declined a special meal entirely. So he was given standard fare dished out to other death-row inmates at the Florida State Prison: medium-rare steak, eggs over easy, toast with butter and jelly, hash browns, milk, coffee, and juice

  • Timothy McVeigh, responsible for the Oklahoma City Bombing, was executed in 2001, after a final meal of two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

  • Before his 2007 execution, Tennessee inmate Philip Workman refused his meal and instead asked that a vegetarian pizza be distributed to any homeless person in Nashville. His request was denied by prison officials, but some local groups decided to fulfill his wishes and donated pizzas to homeless shelter anyway

  • Victor Feguer was the last person put to death in the state of Iowa back in 1963. His final meal was a single olive (with the pip still in it) 

  • Velma Barfield, later dubbed the "Death Row Granny," asked for a bag of Cheez Doodles and a can of Coca-Cola in place of a formal last meal

  • James Edwards Smith, executed in Texas in June 1990, may take the “oddball” prize here, folks. His request? A lump of dirt. (Since dirt was not on the institution's list of approved foods, Smith was given yogurt instead.) 

And some made sure to go out with fatty, fried glory

  • John Wayne Gacy, known as the Killer Clown, assaulted, tortured, and murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men in the 1970s. Before his 1994 execution, he requested a final meal of fried chicken, fried shrimp, French fries, and fresh strawberries (thank goodness he added the healthy fruit!)

  • In 2011, racist killer Lawrence Russell Brewer asked for: two chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, fried okra, a pound of barbecue, three fajitas, a meat-lover's pizza, a pint of ice cream, a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts, and three root beers. He did not eat any of it and because of the whole fiasco, Texas ended the last meal practice all together. 

  • In 1979, Marion Albert Pruett went on a killing spree that claimed the lives of five victims. His meal, which he didn’t finish, was huge: Two cheeseburgers, pizza, fried green tomatoes, onion rings, fries, pecan pie, and...a quart of buttermilk (which he drank all of) 

  • Teresa Lewis, convicted of killing her husband and stepson, became the first female convict to be killed by lethal injection in the state of Virginia. Her final meal: sweet peas with butter, fried chicken, German chocolate cake, and Dr. Pepper.

Well, now I’m hungry.

So what would your last meal be? Let us know in the comments! 

Stay ‘spicious (and hungry) out there. 

-Andy and Mark

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