Thursday, March 27, 2014

My life, my life.


After two and a half years and more than 500 posts, Lost Words in the Chamber has reached the end of the Texas archives of executed offenders. Yesterday's post on Humberto Leal brought us completely up to date, as the convict that followed Leal into the execution chamber, Mark Stroman, was the first Lost Words entry to be chronicled in real time, way back in July of 2011.

It has been a chronicle of the monstrous and of the penitent; of men proclaiming to the end their innocence despite all evidence, and of those whose proclamations still linger, haunting. There were those whose crimes were borne of passion, of reckless stupidity, of simple barbarism, and strapped to the table were the born-again, or the defiant, or the simpleminded, or the coldly cunning. All of them, though, had what few of us ever do- the sure, grim knowledge of their appointed hour and the opportunity to make one, final transmission before signing off forever. Lost Words, more than anything else, has been a chronicle of the fear and hope with which humans face the dark truth of their own mortality.

The blog started with Texas, in part, because Texas is the perennial execution leader in the United States, but I chose Texas principally because of the depth and quality of its death row archives. When I first discovered them, thanks to the urging of Associated Press reporter Mike Graczyk, I was immediately awed by the piety, the viciousness, the terror, and, yes, sometimes even the humor of these final statements. I read them for days.

Texas, however, is unique. The record keeping of other states doesn't seem to be nearly so complete, nor publicly available, as that of the Friendship State. With this in mind, Lost Words will be moving into a research phase, as we figure out a way to move forward with materials from other states. In the meantime, the blog will continue to publish the last words of executed offenders in Texas as they happen (tonight, in fact, Texas has scheduled the execution of Anthony Doyle). So, though they'll be coming infrequently for the time being, keep your eyes on the blog for future updates.

Thanks for reading,

Daniel De Simone

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Humberto Leal #999162; July 7, 2011

I am sorry for everything that I have done. I've hurt a lot of people. For years I have never thought that I deserved any type of forgiveness. Lord Jesus Christ in my life, I know He has forgiven me, I have accepted His forgiveness. I have accepted everything. Let this be final and be done. I take the full blame for this. I am sorry and forgive me. I am truly sorry. I ask for forgiveness. Life goes on and it surely does. I am sorry for the victim's family for what I had did. May they forgive me. I don't know if you believe me, life goes on. I am sure it does. To the man to the right of me, I ask for forgiveness for you. Life goes on, it surely does. I ask for forgiveness. I am truly sorry. That is all. Let's get this show on the road. One more thing, Viva Mexico, Viva Mexico.

Offender information

For additional information, please see this San Antonio Express-News article

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Milton Mathis #999337; June 21, 2011

Yes, sir. I just want to say to all my supporters, family and friends; I love y'all and appreciate y'all. To the ones representing me today, thank you for everything. The system has failed me. This is a miscarriage of justice. There are people on death row that need help. I love my family. I love you too, Mom. I am alright. I asked the Lord to have mercy on me and I hope He has mercy on these people carrying out this mass slaughter. They have no respect for humanity. To Melanie, I never meant to hurt you. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am not asking for your forgiveness. All I have to worry about is God forgiving me. I hope you get better and for the doctors to continue to take care of you. Take care of my mother for me. To everybody, know that I love you and I am OK. Lord, have mercy on my soul. Lord, have mercy on my soul. Lord, have mercy on these peoples' soul. Life is not supposed to end this way. No more pain and frustration. When I knock at the gates, they will open up and let me in. To my mom and everybody, I love you. I can feel it right now. My life, my life.

Offender information

For additional information, please see this Associated Press article

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lee Taylor #999344; June 16, 2011

Yes, sir. Jennifer, I love you. Mom, I love you. Rick, take care of you. For all of you people, I defended myself when I killed your family member. Prison is a bad place. There was eight against me. I didn't set out to kill him. I am sorry that I killed him, but he would not have been in prison if he was a saint. I hope ya'll understand that. I love you, baby.

I hope people understand the grave injustice by the state. There are 300 people on death row, and everyone is not a monster. Texas is carrying out a very inhumane and injustice. It's not right to kill anybody just because I killed your people. Everyone changes, right? Life is about experience and people change.

I love you, Jennifer. Mom, I love you and all my friends that I have known over the years that have always been there for me. I am ready to teleport. I love you, baby.

I hope you don't find satisfaction in this, watching a human being die.

For additional information, please see this Associated Press article

Friday, March 21, 2014

Gayland Bradford #966; June 1, 2011

Noel, I love you man. You have been there for me through thick and thin, you and Brigitta. Be there for each other. I am at peace, we have no worries, just as I have no more worries. To the victim's family, may you be at peace also.

Offender information

For additional information, please see this Associated Press article

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ray Jasper, #999341; March 19, 2014

(Written statement)
I just want to make a statement to all my friends, family, and supporters. Thank you all for the love. To the Christian hip-hop community, all the positive brothers I've done time with. To all the people that took the time to write a letter. Thank you.

To my family, we are one. To my beautiful daughter, the best thing that ever happened to me. I love you endlessly. I am you and you are me forever.

Lastly to God himself....Thank you being a gracious friend to me. I love you with all my heart, mind, strength, in Jesus name.

(Spoken statement)
I want to say to my family, please take care of each other, stay strong and faithful to God. I thank everyone for supporting me. Christine, I love you. To my daughter: baby, be strong, be positive, have a great life. You know what you meant to me, and I love you. Stay faithful to the Lord. Daughter, I love you, I love you, I love you. May the Lord God almighty in heaven, Jesus Christ see my spirit. Amen. 

For additional information, please see this San Antonio Express-News article

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cary D. Kerr #999449; May 3, 2011

Yes, Tell my sister Tracey, I love you. Nicole, thank you and I love you. Wanda and all of my friends, I love you and thank you for your support. To the State of Texas, I am an innocent man. Never trust a court-appointed attorney. I am ready Warden. Thank you, Brad, I'm sorry. Check that DNA, check Scott. Here we go. Lord Jesus, Jesus.

Offender information

For additional information, please see this Associated Press article

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Michael Wayne Hall #999346; February 15, 2011

First of all I would like to give my sincere apology to Amy's family. We caused a lot of heartache, grief, pain and suffering, and I am sorry. I know it won't bring her back. I would like to sing, I would like to sing for that person's dead. The old is gone. I am not the same person that I used to be, that person is dead. It's up to you if you would find it in your heart to forgive.

As for my family, I am sorry I let you down. I caused a lot of heartache, and I ask for your forgiveness. I am not crying for myself, I am crying for the lost and those that are dying for their sins, those that are committing suicide, those that don't know God and have never been set free. I've been locked up 13 years. I am not locked up inside, all of these years I have been free. Christ has changed me. Even though I have to die for my mistake, he paid for mine by wages I could never pay. Here I am a big strong youngster, crying like a baby. I am man enough to show my emotions and I am sorry. I am sorry for everything. I wish I could take it back, but I can't.

For additional information, please see this Associated Press article, as well as the previous Lost Words entry of his accomplice

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Larry Wooten #999269; October 21, 2010

No sir. Warden, Since I don't have nothing to say, you can go ahead and send me to my Heavenly Father.

Offender information

For additional information, please see this Associated Press article

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Michael Perry #999444; July 1, 2010

Yes, I want to start off by saying to everyone know that's involved in this atrocity that they are all forgiven by me. Mom, I love you.....(crying) I am ready to go Warden. Coming home dad, coming home dad.

Offender information

For additional information, please see this Houston Chronicle article