If you’ve ever contemplated what you’d choose as your very last meal, one death row prisoner’s decision may leave you feeling less than virtuous.
NO LAST MEAL REQUEST: Death row inmate, Don Johnson has chosen to forgo the selection of a last meal, the Dept. of Correction reports. He will be offered the same menu that’s served to other inmates at Riverbend. @WKRN pic.twitter.com/MoKAj4p4Rs— Josh Breslow (@JoshBreslowTV) May 15, 2019
He just ate the same meal as the rest of the prisoners at Nashville’s Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, rather than a dish of his choice.
Johnson is not the first death row inmate to waive his right to a last meal in the name of a good cause, either.
His public defender, Kelley Henry, said that Johnson was inspired — to give his allotted food away so a meal could be given to a homeless person — by executed Riverbend prisoner Philip Workman.
In 2007, Henry requested that the money for his last meal be used to buy a vegetarian pizza for a homeless person.
Workman’s request was turned down by the prison. But many were so moved by his gesture that on the day of his execution, people from around the country paid to send pizzas to Nashville homeless shelters.
On May 9, 2007, the Nashville Rescue Mission received over 150 pizzas in Workman’s honor.
Johnson’s request came after he was denied clemency for his crime, though.
On May 15, 2019 Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced that after reviewing Johnson’s case, he elected not to intervene in the original court decision.
Johnson was sentenced to death in 1984 for the murder of his wife Connie Johnson.
During his time in prison, the man seemed to experience a spiritual awakening. He even became an ordained minister of the Seventh Day Adventist church.
Prisons generally try to accommodate inmates’ last meal requests in some capacity.
For instance, in a case where a prisoner requested 24 tacos, the chef made four.
In Tennessee, the chefs work within a $20 budget.
In August of 2018, though, Tennessee inmate Billy Ray Irick made the price limit work for him. He chose a super deluxe burger with a side of onion rings. Then Irick washed it all down with Pepsi before facing his fatal sentence. In Florida, though, inmates can spend up to $40. They have the option to be a little more adventurous.
The most commonly requested last meal among inmates in the U.S. is an American classic.
According to Slate, it’s a cheeseburger with fries.
Other popular options include steaks, ice cream, and fried chicken.
Apparently, the “steak” is often hamburger meat, since that’s already on hand in the kitchen.
If you’ve always been morbidly curious about what notorious criminals chose for their last meal, you’re not alone.
Photographer Henry Hargreaves made an entire series, No Seconds, showing what infamous prisoners ordered, alongside details of their crimes.
And we compiled a few of those curious last meal requests here. Keep going to find out more.
John Wayne Gacy
A recreation of John Wayne Gacy's last meal, I'm not kidding this is what he actually had pic.twitter.com/SMckuCWj1B— Anthony Lowry (@Anthony1_Lowry) February 21, 2014
He requested two fried shrimp, a bucket of original KFC chicken, french fries, and a pound of strawberries.
John Wayne Gacy’s crimes were horrific.
In 1994, the courts found him guilty of the murder of 33 boys and young men in Illinois. Gacy was also terrifyingly dubbed the “Killer Clown” because he often dressed up in clown makeup and costumes.
Even more disturbing, the authorities discovered 29 bodies buried under the accused man’s home.
The serial killer requested a hearty meal of fried chicken, fries, strawberries, and exactly two fried shrimp – a strange order for an equally inconceivable person.
She declined her last meal and instead asked for a single cup of coffee.
Aileen Wuornos’s coffee request could be related to the claims that the guards were mistreating her. Allegedly, they tampered with her food.
Infamously known as America’s first female serial killer, Wuornos was a sex worker who shot seven men at point-blank range.
In a documentary, her defense lawyer and final appeals attorney, Raag Singhal, told the filmmakers, “It was a difficult day because, no matter what, she wanted to die.”
Timothy McVeigh, aged 33. He was sentenced to death for 168 counts of murder. He was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. For his last meal, McVeigh requested two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream. pic.twitter.com/YUE7ycr6U4— IG : @threadtweet (@IThreadtweet) August 11, 2018
Two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream served as his only request.
Timothy McVeigh was the man behind the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing, which is still considered “one of the deadliest acts of terrorism in American history.”
His attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma killed 168 people and injured about 700 others.
He was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001, in Indiana and only asked for mint chocolate chip ice cream before.
Pictured is Ted Bundy's last meal. He was declined a meal so he just got the traditional last meal. pic.twitter.com/rNtlFNnh6K— Serial Killers (@DailyKillerFact) December 19, 2015
Bundy declined a special meal.
So the prison officials served him the traditional final meal of steak, eggs, hash browns, toast, milk, and juice. He didn’t eat any of it, though.
Ted Bundy’s crimes were brought back into the spotlight thanks to Netflix’s Ted Bundy Tapes series.
Interestingly, the serial killer was considered unusually handsome in spite of all of his heinous crimes.
So Netflix chastised fans of the show when they seemed to lust after the convicted murderer.
While he was particularly charming, Bundy did eventually confess to over 30 brutal attacks.
Stephen Wayne Anderson
Stephen Anderson, aged 49. He was sentenced to death for burglary and seven counts of murder. Anderson requested two grilled cheese sandwiches, cottage cheese, peach pie, choc chip ice cream and radishes. pic.twitter.com/d3Gn4sVFi9— IG : @threadtweet (@IThreadtweet) August 19, 2018
Anderson demanded two grilled cheese sandwiches, a pint of cottage cheese, a corn mixture, peach pie, chocolate chip ice cream, and radishes.
Oddly enough, Stephen Wayne Anderson gained waves of sympathy for the deeply emotive poetry he penned on death throw.
It earned him the affectionate title of “America’s Damned.”
The man was hardly gently, though. In fact, Anderson took the life of Elizabeth Lyman, an 81-year-old retired piano teacher, after robbing her. The authorities discovered the criminal in Lyman’s home, watching television and having noodles and a glass of milk.
John Martin Scripps
Scripps requested a whole pizza and a mug of hot chocolate.
John Martin Scripps was the first Westerner to receive the death sentence in Singapore.
In fact, the media dubbed the Englishman the “Tourist From Hell.”
He befriended people in Singapore and Thailand then took their lives and drained their bank accounts. He was executed in 1996.
Marion Albert Pruett
Did You Know: Before his 1999 execution, mass murderer Marion Albert Pruett ate a last meal that included Stuffed Crust Pizza from @pizzahut— Indiana Pizza Club (@TheIndianaPizza) January 17, 2019
Then he got the lethal injection.
Really makes you think. pic.twitter.com/jJKJ0qQ6R9
He wanted Pizza Hut stuffed-crust pizza, four Burger King Whoppers, French fries, fried eggplant, fried squash, fried okra, a whole pecan pie, and three two-liter Pepsi bottles.
In 1979, Marion Albert Pruett was placed in a witness protection program after testifying about a murder in an Atlanta prison. But it was during that time he committed five murders.
Pruett blamed his actions on a substance abuse problem yet denied the life-ending attack on his common-law wife, Pamela Sue Barker.
Originally. the man considered ordering roast duck for his final meal, but for some unknown reason, he changed his mind.
Fritz Haarmann aka the "The Butcher of Hannover" would sell meat from the bodies of his victims as canned black market pork. pic.twitter.com/S3jCbQf2LC— Crime Aholic (@Crimeaholic) December 5, 2017
He simply asked for a cigar to go with a cup of Brazilian coffee.
In 1925, authorities beheaded Fritz Haarmann. who was known as the “Butcher of Hanover,” the “Vampire of Hanover,” and the “Wolf-Man” in Hanover, Germany.
Allegedly, he distributed his victims’ possessions between friends and acquaintances as gifts and sold parts of his victims’ bodies as meat.
Guards offered him steak, but Starkweather refused in favor of cold cuts.
Charles Starkweather was just 20 when he was put in the electric chair.
And he was only a teenager when he went on a two-month killing spree across Wyoming and Nebraska accompanied by his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate.
At 19, Starkweather killed 11 people, including his girlfriend’s parents. Their murderous spree inspired the film Natural Born Killers and Bruce Springsteen’s song “Nebraska.”
Victor Feguer, aged 28. He was sentenced to death for kidnapping and murder. For his last meal, Feguer requested a single olive with the pit in it. pic.twitter.com/H8n4xRu4bU— IG : @threadtweet (@IThreadtweet) August 11, 2018
He asked for a single olive with the pit in it.
Apparently, he had no desire for a decadent meal. Victor Feguer was a drifter.
And, in 1960, he was able to lure a doctor to his rented room in an Iowa boarding house under false pretenses.
Feguer pretended a woman needed immediate medical attention. When the doctor arrived, though, he found himself staring down the barrel of Feguer’s gun. Authorities soon caught the criminal and put him to death in 1963.
He included steak, pasta, fruit, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, chocolate cake, and milk on his list.
In 2002, Earl Forrest got involved in an intense argument with his then-girlfriend. According to him, she wanted to cancel a deal in which she’d give Forrest a lawnmower in exchange for methamphetamines.
Things escalated, though.
So Forrest shot the woman and another visitor in their home. Eventually, Forrest engaged in a shootout with police and also killed a sheriff’s deputy. The man faced execution in 2016.