This week in 1998
“…Everybody has been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I am going to be face to face with Jesus now. Warden Baggett, thank all of you so much. You have been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I will see you all when you get there. I will wait for you.”
— Karla Faye Tucker, convicted of murder, lethal injection, Texas.
Executed February 3, 1998
Gaining worldwide attention from the media, Tucker became the first woman executed by the state of Texas since the Civil War. In a robbery for motorcycle parts with an accomplice, Tucker had at tacked Jerry Lynn Dean and Deborah Thornton with a hammer and a pickax. Police reported finding the ax still embedded in Thornton’s chest.
Tucker became a born-again Christian in prison and was the subject of a folk song by the Indigo Girls titled simply “Faye Tucker.”
This week in 1913
When asked if he was ready:
“No, not yet. I want my breakfast first.”
After being refused food and read his death warrant:
“Everybody knows that and I don’t want to hear it. Let’s go now.”
He continued to utter curses and threats at the presiding sheriff.
— Frank Romeo, convicted of robbery and murder, firing squad, Utah.
Executed February 20, 1913
An Italian coal miner, Romeo shot a manager of a gambling house who was carrying the day’s take to his home. Romeo and an accomplice were chased nearly fifty miles before capture. During execution proceedings, Romeo appeared extremely agitated. Two guards had to support him into the death chair, and “desperately he tried to find an excuse to delay the execution,” according to reports.
The Washington Post recorded his last words as “For God’s sake, don’t shoot me—not that way! I know I chose shooting when the judge asked me whether I preferred shooting or hanging, but I don’t want to be shot—not now. Hang me, but don’t shoot me!”
This week in 2009
“To the Timbrook family, you definitely have the wrong person. The truth will come out one day. This here, killing me, there’s no justice about it.”
— Edward Nathaniel Bell, convicted of murder, lethal injection, Virginia.
Executed February 19, 2009
Bell, a native of Jamaica, was sent to death row for the shooting death of police officer Ricky Timbrook in 1999. Bell maintained his innocence throughout trial. The case became “a flash point in the debate over Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s views on the death penalty,” reported the Washington Post. “. . . The case had particular resonance for Kaine, a Catholic who personally opposes the death penalty but has said he will enforce the law.”