This Death Row Inmate’s Request Caused 1 State to Abolish the Last Meal Tradition For Good

It’s a well-known fact that death row inmates can request a special “last meal” before their execution. But one man’s request was so outlandish, it caused one state to do away with the last meal tradition for good.

Fascinated by the practice — and an opponent of the death penalty — food photographer Henry Hargreaves conducted a photo series called No Seconds. In the series, Hargreaves recreated the least meals of some of the worst criminals of all time.

First, we’ll start with the individual whose request was such nonsense, it caused Texas to abolish the practice once and for all. Now, if only all other states would follow suit.

1. Lawrence Russel Brewer

Lawrence Russell Brewer murderer

The particularly elaborate food request wasn’t even touched. | AP Archive via Youtbue

  • Last meal: 2 chicken-fried steaks with gravy and onions; triple-patty bacon cheeseburger; cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and jalapeños; a bowl of fried okra with ketchup; a pound of barbecued meat and half a loaf of white bread; 3 fajitas; a meat-lover’s pizza; a pint of Blue Bell Ice Cream; a slab of peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts; and 3 root beers
  • Crime: 1998 hate crime and dragging death of James Byrd Jr.
  • Death by: Lethal injection in 2011, Texas

Clearly, Brewer was seriously unhinged, considered the heinous nature of his crime. And in September 2011, he was executed by lethal injection by the state of Texas. Brewer, however, did not have one bite, and his meal was the last least meal request to ever be honored in Texas.

At the request of State Senator John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat and chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, Texas ended the practice of last meals immediately following Brewer’s execution. According to The New York Times, Whitmire’s opposition had little to do with the cost of meals, and everything to do with the principal of it all. Brewer never gave his victim a chance to request a last meal, so why should the state afford him one?

Since 2011, inmates awaiting execution in the state of Texas have received the same meal as other inmates.

Next: This one is mind-boggling. 

2. Victor Feguer

Single green olive on table

A weird request. | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: Single olive with the pit in it
  • Crime: Kidnap and murder
  • Death by: Lethal injection in 1963, Iowa

At least it didn’t cost the state of Iowa an arm and a leg.

Next: This infamous criminal went with an original. 

3. John Wayne Gacy

Bucket of KFC chicken

KFC probably didn’t want this kind of publicity. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

  • Last meal: 12 fried shrimp, a bucket of original recipe KFC, french fries, and a pound of strawberries
  • Crime: Rape and 33 counts of murder
  • Death by: Lethal injection in 1994, Illinois

The strawberries? Perhaps Gacy was throwing one last Hail Mary to get something good into his body? On second though, scrap that. He was a pig.

Next: This domestic terrorist loved himself some ice cream.

4. Timothy McVeigh

After 168 counts of murder, he got ice cream and the needle. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: 2 pints of mint chocolate-chip ice cream
  • Crime: 168 counts of murder
  • Death by: Lethal injection in 2001, Indiana

We don’t disagree with his choice in ice cream. But really, Timothy McVeigh deserved absolutely nothing on his last night.

Next: This inmate let his dessert go to waste. 

5. Ricky Ray Rector

He saved the pie for ‘later.’ | iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: Steak, fried chicken, cherry Kool-Aid, and pecan pie
  • Crime: 2 counts of murder
  • Death by: Lethal injection in 1992, Arkansas

Apparently, he left the pecan pie and told the guards he was saving it for later. The only ounce of justice here is that he never  made it to “later.”

Next: This criminal must have been looking at his nutrition chart — maybe. 

6. Earl Forrest

He went for a balanced meal. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: Steak, pasta, fruit plate, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, chocolate cake, and milk
  • Crime: Triple homicide
  • Death by: Lethal injection in 2016, Missouri

This was probably the most balanced meal we could ever expect from someone who was so clearly unbalanced.

Next: We just don’t understand the corn mixture. 

7. Stephen Anderson 

Cheese and radishes? | iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: 2 grilled cheeses, a pint of cottage cheese, Hominy/corn mixture, peach pie, chocolate-chip ice cream, and radishes
  • Crime: 7 counts of murder, burglary and assault, and prison escape
  • Death by: Lethal injection in 2002, California

The guy loved his cheese, that’s for sure.

Next: This abominable man just couldn’t decide for himself. 

8. Ted Bundy

Steak and Egg breakfast

He was given the traditional last meal. | LauriPatterson/iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: Declined a special request last meal, so was given the traditional last meal: steak (medium rare), eggs (over easy), hash browns, toast with butter and jelly, milk, and juice
  • Crime: Rape, necrophilia, prison escape, and 35+ counts of murder
  • Death by: Electric chair in 1989, Florida

This man — much like ever other individual on this list — deserved nothing.

Next: This meal is a staple in American households. 

9. Oscar Ray Bolin Jr.

Rib eye steak with baked potato and salad

He had the classic meat and potatoes. | newpi/iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: Rib eye steak, medium rare; a baked potato with butter and sour cream; a salad consisting of iceberg lettuce, cucumber, and tomato; baked garlic bread; lemon meringue pie; and a bottle of Coca-Cola
  • Crime: 3 counts of murder
  • Death by: Lethal injection in 2016, Florida

Meat and potatoes are a classic. We wonder if Bolin was thinking about family dinners from his childhood as he ate this American-made meal.

Next: You really can’t go wrong with this option.

10. Steven Frederick Spears

meat lovers pizza with sausage and pepperoni

Pizza is a favorite of a lot of people, even killers. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: A large meat pizza
  • Crime: Murder
  • Death by: Lethal injection in 2016, Georgia

Spears obviously didn’t have a refined palate.

Next: No food for this guy. 

11. Ángel Nieves Díaz

Empty lunch food tray

He didn’t end up eating anything. | snokid/iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: Declined a special last meal, so was served the regular prison meal, which he also declined
  • Crime: Murder, kidnapping, and robbery
  • Death by: Lethal injection in 2006, Florida

We wouldn’t be able to stomach anything on the night before our execution, either.

Next: The only criminal on the list who died by firing squad 

12. Ronnie Lee Gardner

He spent his last meal watching a movie. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: Lobster tail, apple pie, and vanilla ice cream, eaten while watching Lord of the Rings
  • Crime: 2 counts of murder, burglary, and robbery
  • Death by: Firing squad in 2010, Utah

Sorry, but … as if these people deserved any kind of creature comforts in the first place? Apparently, Gardner got to enjoy his last meal while also watching a well-loved favorite.

Next: Sugar, sugar, and more sugar

13. Christopher Brooks 

Two chocolate peanut butter cups

Sounds like something a kid would pick out. | IcemanJ/iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: 2 peanut butter cups and a Dr. Pepper
  • Crime: Murder and rape
  • Death by: Lethal injection in 2016, Alabama

We wonder if Brooks’ teeth fell out.

Next: Another “standard issue” last meal makes the list.

14. Brandon Jones 

He got the typical prison meal.| iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: Jones refused a special request last meal, so was given the standard-issue meal of chicken and rice, rutabagas, seasoned turnip greens, dry white beans, cornbread, bread pudding, and fruit punch
  • Crime: Murder
  • Death by: Lethal injection in 2016, Georgia

No word on whether he actually ate it.

Next: This guy really loved his seafood. 

15. Allen Lee “Tiny” Davis

Delicious sauteed shrimp

A seafood trifecta. | Fudio/iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: Lobster tail, fried potatoes, half a pound of shrimp, 6 ounces of fried clams, half a loaf of garlic bread, and a 32 ounce A&W root beer
  • Crime: 3 counts of murder and robbery
  • Death by: Electric chair in 1999, Florida

What is it with cold, hard killers and root beer?

Next: The only woman to make the list

16. Teresa Lewis

She changed it up a little with the peas. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: Fried chicken, peas with butter, apple pie, and Dr. Pepper
  • Crime: Murder, conspiracy, and robbery
  • Death by: Lethal injection in 2010, Virginia

Oh yeah, and fried chicken. That seems to be a staple on this list, too. At least she got her peas.

Next: This case is actually still open.

17. Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti

Vegetable Bean Soup in a white bowl

This is an especially sad case. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: Soup, meat, toast, and tea
  • Crime: 2 counts of murder
  • Death by: Electric chair in 1927, Massachusetts

Boring as their last meal was, there’s a real twist in this story. In 1977, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis issued a statement proclaiming Sacco and Vanzetti had been unfairly tried and convicted. The case is still open.

Next: This guy set his sights too high. 

18. Ronnie Threadgill

Baked Chicken Kiev with Vegetables Meal

He ended up being served the same meal as everyone else. | JoeGough/iStock/Getty Images

  • Last meal: Baked chicken, mashed potatoes with country gravy, sweet peas, bread, tea, water, and punch
  • Crime: Murder
  • Death by: Death by lethal injection in 2013, Texas

Remember: Texas did away with the last meal practice in 2011. Apparently, Threadgill missed the memo, and he was served the same meal as all the other inmates.

So, what would you choose as your last meal? Or, better yet, would you even be able to stomach one?

Read more: The Psychology Behind the Most Bone Chilling Murders in America

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