“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. So for the life for which I live now in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. I love you, Annie. You have been the best friend I have ever had in the world. I’ll see you when you get there, okay? I am ready, Warden.” Richard Foster, 47, Parker County
Presented without polemic or political commentary, the blog “Lasting Statement” collects the final statements and mugshots of individuals executed by the state of Texas since 1982. Though a quick Google often brings up the crime associated with the name, no trial information is given, so the words and faces of the convicted are separated from the events leading up to the moment before their execution. It’s one of the more affecting archives I’ve seen.
Though a few people declined to make a statement, most gave very reflective—and sometimes quite moving—final words, likely owing to the fact that most of them waited for many years on death row before their execution, giving them plenty of time to meditate and receive counseling or spiritual guidance. Gratitude, both religious and familial, is very common (a few even thank their lawyers). Many apologize to family (both the victim’s and their own) and religious sentiments are predictably pervasive. Surprisingly, very few inmates used the opportunity to insist upon their innocence. Given the frequency of wrongful convictions, it leaves one to wonder if those who still deny the crime in their final hour are telling the truth.
“Yes. My last statement. I was wrongfully convicted of this crime against Michael Watkins and James Williams on 10th Street on August 31, 1993. I got convicted on a false confession because I never admitted to it, but my lawyer did not put this out to the jury. I did not kill those drug dealers. I send love to my family and friends; my east side family and friends. I am being real with the real. That’s all that counts in my heart. I will see you later. That’s it.” Gerald Tigner, 29, McLennan County
“Mama Isabel told me to tell you hello. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee; Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty! God in three Persons, blessed Trinity. Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty. All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea; Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty! God in three Persons, blessed Trinity. Oh, our Father who art in heaven, holy, holy, holy be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sin as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Now, Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit. Amen.” Jose Gutierrez, 39, Brazos County
“God forgive them, God forgive them for they know not what they do. After all these years my people are still lost in hatred and anger. Give them peace God for people seeking revenge towards me. I love you guys, I love you guys. God give them peace. I love you Chiquita. Peace, Freedom, I’m ready.” John Amador, 32, Bexar County
“Tell my family I love y’all. Watch out for Momma. Don’t want to talk too much, I will cry. I’ll just cry everywhere. I’m sorry, Teach, for not being a better son and not doing better things. It wasn’t your fault. You raised me the way you should, at least I won’t be there no more. I miss you, too. I see you there, you doing alright? I sent you a letter. Neckbone, there’s a sheet, I got your name on it. Keep on writing, now. Write to the, hun. Charles, keep the right, now. You people over there. You know what these people are doing. By them executing me ain’t doing nothing right. I don’t weigh 180 pounds and 5’7”. Take care, love y’all. Did Roger come up here yet? Tell Pat and them I love them. I’m gonna go ahead and let them do what their gonna do. Help your sister, see ya later Pat, love ya Becca. Do what you do, Warden” Vincent Cooks, 37, Dallas County
More after the jump…