So, turn on the lights and try and do your best not to get too appalled as you read this list of 15 chilling remarks criminals made before they were executed. Warning: Read at your own discretion.
#1. James Allen Red Dog—”I’m going home, babe.”
James Allen Red Dog was born in 1954 in Poplar, Montana. Red Dog was a mixed Sioux and Assiniboine who was raised on a Native American reservation. Blaming his poverty-stricken reservation for his lot in life, Red Dog turned to a life of crime so he could make a living for himself. In 1973 he staged an armed robbery with a partner that resulted in a prison sentence for Red Dog. In 1991, years after he was released from prison, Red Dog raped and sodomized a 52-year-old woman and slit the throat of her male roommate. While on trial for his crimes, Red Dog asked to be executed, despite his legal team who wanted to plead that he was mentally incompetent. Before his execution by lethal injection, he received his last rites from a tribal medicinal man from his reservation, then told his wife, “I’m going home, babe.”
#2. James French— “How’s this for a headline? ‘French Fries.’”
James French was born circa 1936. While he finished high school, and completed two years of college, he was noted to have shown signs of insanity as early as 16. While hitchhiking across Texas in 1958, French kidnapped the motorist who offered him a lift and murdered him. French was charged with a life sentence in prison. He wanted to die, but was supposedly too afraid to commit suicide, so he murdered his cellmate to coerce the state into executing him. He got his wish when he was sentenced to be executed by the electric chair on August 10, 1966. Before he was strapped in he talked to members of the press, saying, “How’s this for a headline? ‘French Fries’”, showing no fear for what was to come and appearing composed enough to crack jokes before his impending death. Unfortunately for him, his suggested headline didn’t appear in the newspapers the following day
#3. Robert Drew—“Remember, the death penalty is murder.”
Robert Nelson Drew was born on April 8, 1959 in Vermont. He worked as a carpenter with no prison record prior to the murder he committed. Drew was out hitchhiking in February of 1983 when he was picked up by Jeffrey Mays, a 17-year-old runaway from Birmingham, Alabama, in exchange for gas money. He and another hitchhiker Mays picked up got into an argument with Mays that ended with Drew stabbing the teenager to death and him and his other companion leaving Mays in a ditch. Drew and the hitchhiker, 37-year-old Ernest Purleauski, were charged with murder. Drew was executed by lethal injection on August 2, 1994. His last words,“Remember, the death penalty is murder,” seemed to suggest he thought the people executing him were no better than him and that they were criminals just like him.
#4. John Spenkelink—“Capital punishment: them without the capital get the punishment.”
John Arthur Spenkelink was born on March 29, 1949 in Le Mars, Iowa. He was a convicted felon who escaped from a correctional camp in California. In 1973, he shot and killed a fellow minor criminal; he argued that it was in self-defense, but his testimony was proved false in court. He was charged with first-degree murder in 1976 and sentenced to death. Spenkelink’s sentence sparked a national debate over whether or not the crime he committed was deserving of the death penalty. One of the arguments was that capital punishment discriminated against the poor and unprivileged, which may have been the philosophy behind Spenkelink’s last words before he was executed in the electric chair, “Capital punishment: them without the capital get the punishment.”