By Mackenzie Viera |Staff Writer|
Buckets of ice cream, trays of meat, and slices of pie are all some of the most common last meals requested by inmates on death row.
Kelly Gissendaner, the first woman to be executed in Georgia since 1945, was convicted for plotting the murder of her ex-husband with her lover Gregory Owen in 1998.
She convinced her ex-husband to drive into a secluded area where Owen repeatedly stabbed him in the neck. A week before her scheduled execution by lethal injection, Gissendaner requested a 4200 calorie meal.
“Cornbread, buttermilk, two Burger King Whoppers with cheese, two large orders of French fries, cherry vanilla ice cream, popcorn, and a lemonade,” said a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Corrections.
“She also ordered a salad with boiled eggs, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, carrots, and cheese, topped with Paul Newman’s buttermilk dressing.”
Despite the brutality of the crime, it has been a ritual in many countries for inmates to make a final meal request.
Last meals can be traced back to ancient Greece, Rome and China.
Granting a meal to an inmate can indicate a peace offering which alternatively could also cause controversy.
“Why should a serial killer have the opportunity to indulge in one last meal?” asked student Valerie Rose. “It’s stupid and unfair. Did the victim have the option?”
Many prisons in the United States allow inmates to order a special meal up to two days in advance from to the execution.
Though there are no standard requirements in the states, some have certain constraints. Florida has a $40 budget, Oklahoma upholds a $15 budget, and the meals must be locally available.
In 2011, Texas announced that inmates will no longer be able to order a last meal due to convict Lawrence Russell Brewer ordering a massive meal and not eating it.
His order consisted of two fried chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat cheeseburger, fried okra, a pound of barbecue, three fajitas, a meat lovers pizza, a pint of ice cream, and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts.
“It is extremely inappropriate to give a person sentenced to death such a privilege,” said John Whitmire chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice committee. “It’s ridiculous.”
Although Gissendaner’s meal may seem bazaar, some of the reported request made by other inmates consists of pints of ice cream, loads of comfort food, or even just a single olive.
“I would order a massive burrito that has a different meat in every bite,” said student Shawn Reichers. “Nothing else.”
While more inmates have special requests, many prisoners refuse to accept any food offered. Infamously known serial killer and necrophiliac, Ted Bundy was set for execution in Florida during 1989.
Bundy refused to request a special meal, yet received the traditional meal of steak, eggs over easy, hash browns, toast, butter and jelly.
Under sufficient budget constraints, this writer’s last meal would consist of a bowl of Spicy Miso Ramen from Daikakuya in Little Tokyo, chocolate covered potato chips, a bowl of red gummy bears, and a Reese’s cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory.