Officials in Texas realized that they've been going way too easy on death row inmates, so they'll no longer be offering a last meal before execution. Lawrence Russell Brewer, who was convicted of the racially motivated murder of James Byrd Jr., enraged State Senator John Whitmire by ordering this meal before he was put to death on Wednesday:
Two chicken-fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions; a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger; a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapeños; a bowl of fried okra with ketchup; one pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread; three fajitas; a meat-lover's pizza; one pint of Blue Bell Ice Cream; a slab of peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts; and three root beers.
Whitmire complained to prison officials, and they agreed to end the practice. Now those about to die will eat the same gruel-flavored foodstuffs the other inmates are having. Whitmire said of Brewer, who didn't even eat the food he asked for:
"He never gave his victim an opportunity for a last meal. Why in the world are you going to treat him like a celebrity two hours before you execute him? It's wrong to treat a vicious murderer in this fashion. Let him eat the same meal on the chow line as the others."
It seems Brewer was just trying to annoy officials with his elaborate request, but especially on the heels of Troy Davis' execution, Whitmire's gripe seems petty. As Richard Dieter, executive director of the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center, told the New York Times, "There are a lot more serious abuses that have gone on in terms of lack of due process in Texas ... Inmates would much prefer a last lawyer to a last meal."
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