Death in Texas
By Harold Jaffe
All rights reserved.
Date of Execution: March 3, 2004
Offender: Marcus Cotton #999252
Well Moms, sometime it works out like this.
Love life, live long.
When you dealin’ wit’ reality, real ain’ always what you wan’ it to be.
Take care yousefs.
Tell my kids I love ’em.
God is real. He is fixin’ to find out some deep things that are real.
Bounce back, baby, you know what I’m sayin’.
That’s it, Warden.
Date of Execution: July 28, 2005
Offender: Virgil Ravenfeather #921338
Only the sky and the green grass goes on forever and today is a good day to die.
Date of Execution: January 16, 2002
Offender: Horace Allen #987225
Members of Mrs. Lackey’s family, like I said, I take responsibility for the death of your daughter in 1989.
I’m deeply sorry for the loss of your beloved daughter.
I am a human being also, I know how it feels.
I cannot explain and can’t give you no answers.
I can give you just one thing.
I’m’a give a life for a life.
I am not saying this to be facetious.
I hope you find comfort in my execution.
As for me, I am happy, that is why you see me smiling.
I am glad to be leaving this world.
I am going to a better place.
I have made peace with God, I am born again.
I hope you get over any malice or hatred you feel.
God bless all yawl.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see…
Date of Execution: February 8, 2003
Offender: Octavio Guerra #978923
I want to thank my family for their help and moral support and their struggle.
Woulda been a whole lot harder without their love.
Me? I’m just going back home. I will see yawl one of these days.
Just don’t rush it. I will be there always. I’ll be watching over you.
I love yawl, huh.
I’ll see yawl in Slayton, Texas.
Dios te mandas contigo mi espiritu. Cuida mi familia.
Pull the plug, Warden.
Date of Execution: June 6, 2006
Offender: Timothy Tilton #906823
County: Red River
I know you folks is here to find closure for the things I have done.
There are no words to describe the pain and suffering you have went through all these years, and that is something that I cannot take back from you.
I hope that Megan, if she is here present today, knows that today I hope you all get peace and joy.
I am sorry it has taken 14 years to get closure.
If it would have brung closure or brung her back, I would have did this years ago.
I promise, I promise.
I didn’t mean to inflict the pain and suffering on your family.
I pray that she is safe in heaven.
I pray that you find closure and strength.
I am sorry, I am truly sorry.
You all take care.
Pastor, tell Megan I am sorry.
Date of Execution: June 13, 2001
Offender: Johnny Saginaw #999222
County: San Jacinto
I deeply regret what happened. I did not intentionally or knowingly harm anyone.
That’s it and didmau. (Vietnamese for “let’s get out of here.”)
Date of Execution: May 24, 2006
Offender: Jesus Aguilar #911383
I would like to say to my family, I am alright.
Leo? Donde esta, Leo?
Esta aqui, Leo?
Don’t lie, man. Be happy.
Are you happy?
Are you all happy?
Date of Execution: September 27, 2004
Offender: Dwayne-Earl Clapp #999150
Sharla, Lamar, Sonny, Michelle, yawl know I love you.
Tell ever’body I said hey, I love ’em and I will see ’em on the other side. K?
Now I just pray that if there is anything ‘gainst me — that God will take it on home.
I don’t want nobody talkin’ bad at nobody.
I don’t want nobody bein’ bitter.
Keep clean hearts and I will see yawl on the other side. K?
I love yawl, stay sweet.
Kick the tires and light the fire, I am goin’ home to see my infant baby girl and my mom.
Date of Execution: August 14, 2002
Offender: Javier Suarez #944906
County: Palo Pinto
First of all, I would like to apologize to the family members of the Cadena family for whatever hurt and suffering I caused you.
I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me.
The peace you find will be a temporary peace, true peace will come only through Jesus Christ.
I pray through this execution that you will find the peace you seek.
Give yourself to Jesus.
I thought about your loved one a whole lot.
He will be in heaven waitin’ on me.
I will then talk to him personal and ask for his forgiveness.
To my family, I thank you and love you for being there for me and supporting me.
Forgive me for the pain I caused you.
To all the people of Méjico that supported me: I carry each and every one of you in my heart.
If you are going to demonstrate, I don’t want you to do nothing crazy to these people.
They are good people, they have suffered enough.
Long live Méjico.
Date of Execution: May 28, 2002
Offender: Napoleon Beazley III #999141
The act I committed to put me here was brutal and senseless.
But the person that committed that act is no longer here — I am.
I’m not going to struggle physically against these restraints.
I’m not going to shout, use profanity or make threats.
Understand though that I am saddened by what is happening here tonight. I’m disappointed that a system supposed to protect and uphold what is just can be so much like me when I made the same
I’m sorry that John Luttig died.
And I’m sorry that it was something in me that caused all of this to happen to begin with.
Tonight we tell the world that there are no second chances in the eyes of justice.
Tonight we tell our children that in some instances killing is righteous.
There are a lot of men like me on death row — good men — who fell to the same misguided emotions.
Give those men a chance to do what’s right, undo their wrongs.
A lot of them want to fix the mess they started, but don’t know how.
The problem is the system is telling them there is no rehabilitation.
Only unforgiving punishment.
Date of Execution: September 11, 2001
Offender: Karla Faye Tucker #922923
I would like to say to the Mosebys that I am very, very sorry of depriving you of your mama and daddy.
To Warden Taggett and Chaplain Jesse Turner, I thank you very, very much, you been so good to me.
To my family and friends that has stuck by me, I love yawl from the bottom of my heart.
I am going to be face to face with Jesus now.
I will see all yawl when you get up there.
I will be dressed in wat.
Date of Execution: December 7, 2000
Offender: Claude Jones #980890
To your family, ah, I hope that this can finally bring closure.
I am sorry for your loss and, hey, I love all yawl.
Date of Execution: May 17, 2006
Offender: Jermaine Herron #979210
Mr. Jerry Nutt, I just hope this brings some kind of peace to your family.
I wish I could bring them back, but I cain’t.
I hope my death brings peace to you all.
Don’t hang on to the hate.
Mama, I love you.
Lord forgive me for my sins because here I come.
Date of Execution: May 28, 2002
Offender: Adolf Wolfli #999666
County: San Augustine
You gentlemen and ladies of quality who frequently don’t know yourselves what Christian virtue and justice are, look at the sunken, deep-set eyes of the lower classes, where you can see all too clearly the sorrow and misery that weigh on their hearts.
Not everyone who sees his grieved and martyred face in the washroom mirror in the morning is a murderer or drug addict.
On the contrary, the grounds for his misery are to be sought elsewhere.
You friends near and far.
If among you there is anyone without sin, let him come to me, and I will implore him for compassion and mercy.
Date of Execution: April 20, 2005
Offender: Troy Kunkle #954811
I’ve been hanging around this popsicle stand way too long.
Before I leave, I want to tell you all.
Bury me deep, lay two speakers at my feet, put headphones on my skull and rock and roll me when I’m dead.
I’ll see you all in hell.
Date of Execution: August 23, 2005
Offender: Jimmy Blackmon #924591
(This offender declined to make a final statement.)
Harold Jaffe is the author of 15 books of fiction and non-fiction, with recent translations in French, Turkish, and Japanese.
This story is included in issue #42: The Artist in Wartime. Copyright © 2009 by Fiction International. Authors of individual works retain copyright, with the restriction that subsequent publication of any text be accompanied by notice of prior publication in Fiction International. Please contact the editor for reprinting information.
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