…to the official page for Last Words of the Executed, a book by Robert K. Elder, with a foreword by Studs Terkel.

Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, has praised the project and called it, “A dangerous book…” This is a nonpolitical work, simply asking, “If these are the most reviled, outcast members of society—why does it remain a cultural value to record what they say?”

This is the history of capital punishment in America, told from the gallows, the chair, and the gurney.

Last Words of the Executed author Robert K. Elder was on NBC’s “Last Call with Carson Daly” recently. Fast forward to 2:02 to see the exact segment.

Each day, we are posting excerpts from the book, plus outtakes, by date of execution. See below:


This Week in 2010

“Well, I’d like to say thank you to my family for being here and all my friends, and Boomer Sooner.”

– Jeffery Timothy Landrigan, convicted of murder, lethal injection, Arizona. Executed October 26, 2010.

A native of Oklahoma, Landrigan murdered Chester Dyer in Arizona after escaping from an Oklahoman prison, where he was being held for a 20-year prison sentence for second-degree murder. Landrigan’s execution was temporarily stayed while the Supreme Court investigated the origins of Arizona’s supply of sodium thiopental, a barbiturate used in the state’s lethal injections. “Boomer Sooner” is the University of Oklahoma’s fight song.


This Week in 2010

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

– Larry Wooten, convicted of murder, lethal injection, Texas. Executed October 21, 2010.

Wooten stabbed and cut the throats of 80-year-old man, Grady Alexander, and his wife, Bessie. He had previously done odd jobs for the Alexanders and was once married to their niece. The motive for Wooten’s crime was to rob the couple. A cocaine addict, Wooten stole between $500 to $600 in cash after the murders.


This Week in 2012

“I’ve carried you for years and years in my heart. I know what it’s like to lose a parent, sibling, and a child, I wish this could bring it back to you, I know it can’t. I pray that you have good lives, I’m sorry. May the Lord bless you and give you good lives. I’m sorry.”

– Donald Palmer, convicted of murder, lethal injection, Ohio. Executed September 20, 2012.

Palmer shot Charles Sponhaltz and Steven Vargo in the head along a rural road. He did not know either of his victims at the time of the murders, but expressed his regrets to the families witnessing his execution.


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