Wednesday, 20 Oct 2021

Haunting last words of death row prisoners – from sweary rants to twisted taunts

This week killer Ernest Lee Johnson spent his last day on Death Row despite pleas for Pope Francis to call off the execution.

Johnson and other death row inmates are always granted the opportunity to say some final words before being executed.

Some profess their innocence while others say goodbye to their loved ones.

And some utter final words that send a shiver down the spines of anyone who is there to witness it.

The death penalty still persists in most US states, as does the ritual of asking the doomed prisoner for their final words.

Here the Daily Star takes a look at some of the most memorable final words ever spoken.

Ernest Lee Johnson


Johnson is the most recent example after he was executed this week.

The 61-year-old used a hammer to kill three shop workers in a brutal robbery in 1994.

His victims were Mary Bratcher, 46, Mable Scruggs, 57, and Fred Jones, 58.

In his final statement, he said: “I am sorry and have remorse for what I do. I want to say that I love my family and friends, I am thankful of all that my lawyer has done for me.

“They made me feel love as if I was family to them, I love them all, for all the people that has prayed for me I thank them from the bottom of my. I love the Lord my heart and soul.

“If I am executed I know where I am going to heaven. Because I ask him to forgive me God everyone.

“White respected Ernest L Johnson(sic).”

Torrey Twane McNabb

Cop killer McNabb, 40, was put to death after killing Anderson Gordon, a Montgomery police officer, in 1997.

But his final moments in 2017 before he was injected with a lethal injection were chilling.

He raised his middle finger in defiance while speaking directly to his family watching on.

His cold last words were: “Mom, sis, look at my eyes. I’m unafraid. To the state of Alabama, I hate you motherf*****. I hate you. I hate you.”

Bennie Demps

Demps used his final moments to tell witnesses he was in pain and was being “butchered” after it reportedly took 33 minutes to find his veins.

He was a three-time convicted killer and a lethal injection was chosen after the electric chair failed.

Demps used his harrowing final moments in 2000 to complain about the alleged abuse he suffered.

His last words were: “They butchered me back there, I was in a lot of pain. They cut me in the groin, they cut me in the leg. I was bleeding profusely.

“This is not execution, it is murder.”

Robert Drew

Drew was given a death sentence after he stabbed a teenager, Jeffrey Leon Mays, to death in 1983.

He also allegedly stole his watch and wallet after butchering him.

But in his final moments in 1994 he claimed to be innocent while also slamming the death penalty.

The 35-year-old said: “I love you all. Keep the faith. Remember the death penalty is murder. They are taking the life of an innocent man.”

Billie Wayne Coble

Coble turned into a monster in 1989 after murdering his estranged wife’s parents and brother in horrific shootings.

The killer left executioners baffled when he was asked for his final words in 2019.

The 70-year-old said: “Yes Sir, that will be five dollars.

“I love you, I love you, and I love you. Mike I love you. Where’s Nelley at? I love you.

“That will be five dollars. Take care.”

Thomas J. Grasso

Grasso strangled a woman with her own Christmas lights in December 1990.

He then killed an 81-year-old man soon after and again stole cash from his victim.

The 32-year-old didn’t offer any remorse in his final words and instead spoke about his last ever meal.

He had asked for a can of Spaghetti-Os with meatballs but was given fresh spaghetti instead.

Therefore, his bizarre last words were: “I did not get my Spaghetti-Os, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this.”

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