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Famous Last Words of Criminals Before Their Execution

Updated on January 3, 2011

The death penalty has been a hot topic of debate for many, many years. Citizens that are anti-death penalty argue that it is hypocritical and against God’s law to execute criminals in retaliation for their wrongdoings, while advocates of the death penalty argue that it should be an eye for an eye. Prior to being executed, it is usually customary for condemned criminals to take the stage one last time and address the public with his or her final words. Whether it is a chilling statement aimed at shocking or upsetting those in attendance , a light-hearted statement that attempts get few chuckles or a final slap in the face of society, criminals throughout the years have had some pretty interesting things to say in the minutes prior to taking their final breath.

Carl Panzram
Carl Panzram

“In my lifetime I have murdered 21 human beings, I have committed thousands of burglaries, robberies, larcenies, arsons and last but not least I have committed sodomy on more than 1,000 male human beings. For all these things, I am not in the least bit sorry.”   - Carl Panzram (d. 1930) - Executed by hanging in Leavenworth, Kansas. He defiantly went on to tell his own executioner, “Hurry it up you Hoosier bastard! I could hang a dozen men while you’re screwing around.”

Johnny Frank Garrett
Johnny Frank Garrett

"I'd like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me. And the rest of the world can kiss my a**." Johnny Frank Garrett (d. 1992) - Executed in Texas by lethal injection for the rape and murder of a seventy-six year old nun.

“I'd rather be fishing.”  Jimmy Glass (d. 1987) - Executed by electrocution in Louisiana after escaping from jail and robbing and murdering an elderly couple.

Christopher Scott Emmett
Christopher Scott Emmett

"Tell my family and friends I love them. Tell the governor he just lost my vote. Y'all hurry this along. I'm dying to get out of here. Christopher Scott Emmett (d. 2008) - Executed by lethal injection in Virginia for the robbery and murder of a co-worker.

John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy

"Kiss my a**." John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (d. 1994) - The “Killer Clown” was executed by lethal injection in Illinois for the murder of 33 victims.

“Remember, the death penalty is murder”.  Robert Drew (d. 1994) - Executed by lethal injection in Texas after murdering a man that picked him up while hitchhiking.

Theodore "Ted" Bundy
Theodore "Ted" Bundy

"I'd like you to give my love to my family and friends."  Theodore “Ted” Robert Bundy (d. 1989) - Executed by the electric chair in Florida for killing possibly more than 35 women.

Westley Allan Dodd
Westley Allan Dodd

“I was once asked by somebody, I don't remember who, if there was any way sex offenders could be stopped. I said, “No.” I was wrong. I was wrong when I said there was no hope, no peace. There is hope. There is peace. I found both in the Lord, Jesus Christ Look to the Lord, and you will find peace. Westley Allan Dodd (d. 1993). 

This was quite the change of heart.  In 1990, which was around the time of his arrest, he made the following statement in open court, "I must be executed before I have an opportunity to escape or kill someone within the prison. If I do escape, I promise you I will kill prison guards if I have to and rape and enjoy every minute of it." He went on to say that if he ever escaped from jail, he would immediately go back to "killing and raping kids."      

"Their cries bring laughter from the darkest caverns of my soul.... I don't believe I could satisfy my thirst yet in this matter unless I was to be able to dig these brats' bones up out of their graves right now and beat them into powder and urinate on them and then stir it into a murky yellowish elixir and serve it up to those loved ones." John Frederick Thanos. He made this harrowing statement in front of the victims’ relatives during his sentencing hearing.  In 1994, his final word before his execution by lethal injection in Maryland was simply, “Adios." 

“Today is a good day to die.  I forgive all of you.  I hope God does too”.  Mario Benjamin Murphy (1997) - Executed by lethal injection in Virginia for carrying out a contract murder on a man at the behest of the victim’s wife.

John Spenkelink
John Spenkelink

“Capital punishment: Them without the capital get the punishment.”  John Spenkelink (d. 1979) - Executed by electric chair in Florida after being convicted of murder for killing a travel companion.

Francis "Two Gun" Crowley
Francis "Two Gun" Crowley

“You sons of b***hes. Give my love to Mother” Francis “Two Gun” Crowley (d. 1931) - Executed by electric chair in New York after a crime spree that included the murder of a police officer.

“Lock and load. Let's do it man.”  G.W. Green (d. 1991) - Executed by lethal injection in Texas after breaking into a house and terrorizing a family before killing the father.

Robert Alton Harris
Robert Alton Harris

“You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the grim reaper”.  Robert Alton Harris (d. 1992) - Executed in the gas chamber in California after being convicted of the murder of two teenage boys.

“How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper?  French Fries!”  James D. French (d. 1966) - Executed by electric chair in Oklahoma.

Thomas J. Grasso
Thomas J. Grasso

“I did not get my Spaghetti-O’s. I got spaghetti! I want the press to know this!”  Thomas J. Grasso (d. 1995) - Executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma for strangling an 87 year-old woman to death on Christmas Eve with her own Christmas lights, while stealing a television and $12.

James Jackson
James Jackson

“Warden, murder me.”  “I’m ready to roll.  Time to get this party started.”  James Lewis Jackson (d. 2007) - Executed in Texas by lethal injection for the murders of his wife and two step-daughters.

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    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Hi, Oh wow, this is brilliant! Now I know that I sound really gruesome lol but this sort of thing fascinates me! I studied psychology for years, bear with me! lol it just goes to show that even in that final second some of them have a sense of humour, the funny thing is that I remember Spenkelink, at least I think it was him, I was just a kid, and it was all over English radio, and for some reason it stuck in my mind. I remember thinking the guy was innocent because he was attacked first, but maybe that was the story he was telling, but in my mind he has always been innocent, maybe today he would have got off, great hub, I was really interested in this hub, thanks nell rated up as fascinating! ha ha

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