Condemned prisoners' last words

Death Penalty
by Marvin Olasky

Posted on Thursday, October 17, 2013, at 10:50 am

Editor’s note: Marvin Olasky’s cover story in the current issue of WORLD magazine focuses on what the Bible says about the death penalty and what life is like on death row. In a series of 10 columns here on (posted Oct. 7–18), Marvin addresses public policy issues involving deterrence, discrimination, and arbitrariness in capital punishment.

Texas gives every prisoner about to die the chance to make a last statement while awaiting chemical injection, and most do. Here are some excerpts from the last four years of statements, in reverse chronological order.

Kimberly McCarthy, June 26, 2013: “Thank you everybody. This is not a loss; this is a win. You know where I am going. I am going home to be with Jesus.”

Elroy Chester, June 12, 2013: “I don’t want you to have hate in your heart for me, because I took your loved one. I know it doesn’t mean anything; I told the truth because I feel like you should know who killed your loved one. God watches everything. Don’t hate me, if you do, you’ll have to deal with Him later. For me, live your life but don’t hate me. I’m sorry for taking your loved one.”

Donnie Lee Roberts, Jr., Oct. 31, 2012: “I am truly sorry. I never meant to cause ya’ll so much pain. Not one day has passed that I wish I could take it back. After today, I hope you can go on. I hope this brings you closure. God knows I didn’t want to do what I did. I loved your daughter. I hope to God, He lets me see her in heaven so I can apologize to her. I’m sorry.”

Bobby Lee Hines, Oct. 24, 2012: “To the victim’s family, I am sure I know that I took somebody special from ya’ll. I know it wasn’t right, it was wrong. I wish I could give it back, but I know I can’t. If giving my life in return makes it right, so be it. I ask that ya’ll forgive me. I know God forgave me. I know He has forgiven me for what I did. I don’t believe that taking my life will solve anything. I believe that if I was locked up for the rest of my life, that would be more of a punishment. To do this is setting me free. God bless ya’ll. I wish there was something I could do.”

Marvin Lee Wilson, Aug. 7, 2012: “Son, get your life right with Christ, also your mother. Give mom a hug for me and tell her that I love her. Ya’ll do understand that I came here a sinner and leaving a saint. Take me home Jesus, take me home Lord, take me home Lord.”

Beunka Adams, April 26, 2012: “To the victims, I’m very sorry for everything that happened. I am not the malicious person that you think I am. I was real stupid back then. I made a great many mistakes. What happened was wrong. I was a kid in a grown man’s world. I messed up, and I can’t take it back. I wasn’t old enough to understand. Please don’t carry around that hurt in your heart. You have got to find a way to get rid of the hate.”

Frank Garcia, Oct. 27, 2011: “Thank you, Jesus Christ. Thank you for your blessing. You are above the president. And know it is you, Jesus Christ, that is performing this miracle in my life. Hallelujah, Holy, Holy, Holy. For this reason I was born and raised. Thank you for this, my God is a God of Salvation. Only through you, Jesus Christ, people will see that you’re still on the throne. Hallelujah, Holy, Holy, Holy. I invoke Your name. Thank you, Yahweh, thank you Jesus Christ. Hallelujah, Amen. Thank you, Warden.”

Mark Stroman, July 20, 2011: “Even though I lay on this gurney, seconds away from my death, I am at total peace. May the Lord Jesus Christ be with me. I am at peace. Hate is going on in this world and it has to stop. Hate causes a lifetime of pain.”

Humberto Leal, July 7, 2011: “I am sorry for everything that I have done. I’ve hurt a lot of people. For years I have never thought that I deserved any type of forgiveness. Lord Jesus Christ in my life, I know He has forgiven me, I have accepted His forgiveness. I have accepted everything. Let this be final and be done. I take the full blame for this. I am sorry and forgive me. I am truly sorry. I ask for forgiveness.”

Milton Mathis, June 21, 2011: “Lord, have mercy on my soul. Lord, have mercy on my soul.”

Cary D. Kerr, May 3, 2011: “To the state of Texas, I am an innocent man. Never trust a court-appointed attorney.”

Michael Wayne Hall, Feb. 15, 2011: “I would like to give my sincere apology to Amy’s family. We caused a lot of heartache, grief, pain, and suffering, and I am sorry. I know it won’t bring her back. I would like to sing; I would like to sing for that person’s dead. The old is gone. I am not the same person that I used to be, that person is dead. It’s up to you if you would find it in your heart to forgive. … I’ve been locked up 13 years. I am not locked up inside, all of these years I have been free. Christ has changed me. Even though I have to die for my mistake, he paid for mine by wages I could never pay.”

Billy John Galloway, May 13, 2010: “If I can go back and change the past I would, there’s nothing I can do. I’m sorry.”

Kevin Scott Varga, May 12, 2010: “Mom, this is nothing, I am going to go to sleep and wake up with Jesus. This is the only way God could save me.”

Michael Adam Sigala, March 2, 2010: “I would like to ask forgiveness of the family. I have no reason for why I did it; I don’t understand why I did it. I hope that you can live the rest of your lives without hate. I pray the Lord grant me forgiveness.”

Bobby Wayne Woods, Dec. 3, 2009: “Bye, I’m ready.”

Listen to Marvin Olasky discuss the death penalty on The World and Everything in It:

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is Reforming Journalism. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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