What would you eat if you knew you were about to eat your last meal?That is the question asked to some individuals before paying their ultimate debt to society. Do you go all out in a blaze of glory? Or do you keep it simple before venturing off into the great beyond? Some of the most notorious criminals in history have had a bit of both as well s some of the quirkiest last meal requests you’ve ever heard of.
Henry Hargreaves is a photographer who took pictures of some infamous criminals last requested meals. Some of the choices here may puzzle you as much as to the insane nature of the crimes they committed.
Feguer was the last federal inmate to be executed in the United States for over 40 years after he kidnapped and murdered Dr. Edward Bartels. Feguer called doctors alphabetically in the phone book until he reached Bartels, stating he had a woman in need of medical assistance. He was looking to score some drugs that the doctor would be carrying and shot Bartels in the back of the head for his troubles. Feguer dined on only a single pitted olive. Kind of a let down considering the duration between executions.
Threadgill was convicted of killing teenager Dexter McDonald during a car jacking. Threadgill shot into the car twice missing with the first but hitting McDonald’s arm and chest with the second. By the time Threadgill was executed, the state of Texas had done away with final meal requests so he got the standard meal before going off to a “better place” as his final words described it.
Angel Nieves Diaz
Nieves Diaz was convicted of killing a strip club manager, Joseph Nagy, during a robbery in 1979. Pleading innocence up until his death via lethal injection, Upon his final meal, Nieves Diaz declined his last request as well as the meal actually served to him. Perhaps he was still bitter at his girlfriend for turning him in in 1983.
Ferdinando Nicola Sacco & Bartolomeo Vanzetti
Sacco and Vanzetti were anarchists who were executed via the electric chair after the armed robbery of the Slater and Morrill shoe company in 1920. During the heist, they murdered a guard and a paymaster requiring the death penalty at the time. There is still debate as to whether the men were actually guilty with conflicting ballistic evidence, withdrawn testimony, and a prejudiced statement by the jury foreman. In 1977, it was deemed that the men were unfairly tried, 50 years after their death. They enjoyed soup, meat, toast, and tea for their last meal.
McViegh was the infamous Unabomber who destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building by detonating a truck bomb. The domestic terrorist killed 168 people and severely injuring over 600 more. It was the deadliest act of terrorism prior to the 9/11 attacks. Before being administered lethal injection, his last meal consisted of two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream. He was the first federal inmate executed after the moratorium was lifted for Victor Feguer.
Theresa Lewis hired two men to kill her husband and stepson, the latter of which took out a $250,000 life insurance policy before joining the Army reserve. She had a sexual relationship with Matthew Jessee Shallenberger (21) and Rodney Lamont Fuller (19) before offering them $1,200 to kill her husband and stepson. She was the first female inmate to die by lethal injection after the last female execution in the state of Virginia brought up ethical questions concerning mental state and gender. She enjoyed southern staples of fried chicken and peas before her death.
John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy was an infamous serial killer who dressed as a clown and tricked his victims into handcuffs, promising to show them a magic trick. He would then rape and strangle them. Afterwards, he would stuff them in his crawl space. For his last meal, he requested a bucket of KFC chicken due to his former work relationship with the franchise.
Allen Lee Davis
Davis was executed in 1999 for the grotesque murder of Nancy Weiler and her two daughters. He was on parole at the time of the 1982 crime. after bleeding profusely from his nose, and with severe burns on his head and groin area, a case was pled that the electric chair was an outdated form of capital punishment in the state of Florida. For his last meal, Davis requested a large seafood dinner.
Ricky Ray Rector
Rector Killed a man in a night club and after luring a police officer in with the promise of surrender, he shot the officer and then himself in a suicide attempt. He survived and despite his mental state, was sentenced to death in Arkansas. President Clinton, Governor of Arkansas at the time of Rector’s crimes, witnessed the execution. For his last meal, Rector requested steak and fried chicken.
Ronnie Lee Gardner
Gardner killed Melvyn John Otterstrom while robbing him and shot lawyer Michael Burdell while attempting to escape. Gardner was awaiting trial for 25 years in the state of Utah which brought legislation in to limit appeals for the death penalty. It wasn’t until Gardner killed Burdell that he received the death penalty and was put to death via firing squad. He is the only prisoner on this list to request watching a film while eating his last meal.
Ted Bundy was one of the most charismatic serial killers in history. While he was convicted of rape, murder, and even necrophilia, prosecutors found it nearly impossible to bring him up on the charges based on the circumstantial evidence as Bundy would talk his way out of it. So it comes as a bit of a surprise as Bundy made no special request for his last meal. He still got a lavish plate of steak and eggs but the question of a special killer not getting a special meal remains.
Anderson was convicted of killing one woman but was suspected to have killed eight other people including one fellow inmate and up to seven contract killings. Executed in San Quentin in 2002, Anderson requested 2 grilled cheese sandwiches, cottage cheese, hominy, radishes, chocolate chip ice cream and peach pie for his last meal.
Most killers have requested fairly simple meals as their last hurrah before leaving this mortal coil. Certainly, there is the odd choice of simply mint chocolate chip ice cream or a single olive, but most went out with a grand meal that they had been (rightfully) deprived of during their incarceration. Steak, lobster and fried chicken dominated the menu of the criminally insane, presuming that the convicted got the right to request a final meal. Can we get a look into the thought processes of the evil deeds of these dastardly human beings? Is Henry Hargreaves trying to humanize these thoughtless monsters?