Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Hole Truth About Ernest Lee Johnson

Death row inmate Ernest Lee Johnson, scheduled for execution in the state of Missouri next week, has made an interesting last-minute appeal to save his life. Johnson claims that a small hole in his skull--the result of an operation to remove a tumor back in 2008--should disqualify him from his death sentence because of complications that might arise during the lethal injection procedure.

I find Johnson's argument specious at best, and here's why. First of all, readers of Last Suppers: Famous Final Meals from Death Row already know that anyone with the middle name Lee shouldn't be trusted to begin with. Second, if a hole in the head prevented people from meeting their obligations, then many politicians and a fair amount of reality TV show producers would be claiming the same privileges on a daily basis.

Incidentally, Johnson received his death sentence for a gruesome triple homicide during which the victims were beaten with a hammer, stabbed with a screwdriver, and shot.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tsarnaev Sorry or Just Surly?

Victims and their relatives finally got to hear Dzhokhar Tsarnaev speak today as he was formally sentenced to death for his part in the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. Now the youngest man on death row in America, Tsarnaev appeared in court looking like a young Bob Dylan, or a young mad scientist, or perhaps some bizarre man-goat with brown flames sprouting from his head.

"If there is any lingering doubt, I did it, along with my brother," Tsarnaev said during his short speech. "I am sorry for the lives that I've taken, for the suffering that I've caused you, for the damage that I've done. Irreparable damage."

Many of the people in the courthouse doubted Tsarnaev's sincerity. Some went so far as to say they didn't believe a word he said. Perhaps part of that skepticism came from Tsarnaev's remarks about how he would spend his final years on death row.

"Hopefully I'll be listening to plenty of Justin Bieber music, because that man is the most talented musician to ever grace this earth," Tsarnaev said. "And if I'm lucky enough to have a TV in my cell, I plan to watch marathons of Dance Moms and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. These fine examples of the dramatic arts stimulate my intellect and help me analyze the world in new and exciting ways."

When asked about his choice of a last meal before his execution, Tsarnaev thought for a moment then replied, "Probably just a large plate of Brussels sprouts, and perhaps some canned beets. You know, something delicious and purely decadent. With a glass of New Coke to wash it all down, because man, that was so much better than the old stuff."

Before leaving the courtroom, Tsarnaev glanced at his audience and added, "Seriously, I mean it. I'm being completely honest here." Eyewitnesses think Tsarnaev might have muttered "Not!" under his breath as he walked away, although they admit that the word was unclear and could have been "Bot" or "Cot" or "Nut."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Failure to Execute

It's a busy time in the world of capital punishment. Three people sentenced to death have died over the past three days---yet none of them were executed.

Nebraska cult killer Michael Ryan got the ball rolling on Sunday. Ryan had been sitting on death row for nearly 30 years when he died of natural causes, reportedly related to brain cancer. 

On Monday, Michael Lamont Jones kept the streak alive when he committed suicide in his cell. Jones had been on death row in California since 1991 after killing a pizza shop employee during a robbery. 

The trend continued on Tuesday when Paula Cooper (pictured here), once the youngest inmate on Indiana's death row, took her own life as well. Cooper had been released from prison in 2013 after a successful appeal, but served 27 years on death row prior to that.

Prison authorities have reported sightings of the Grim Reaper lingering in dim hallways, twiddling his thumbs and looking bored.    

Friday, May 15, 2015

From "One Direction" to Lethal Injection

Well, it looks like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has gone from "that killer in prison who looks like a member of One Direction" to "that killer on death row who looks like a member of One Direction."

Tsarnaev received a well-deserved death penalty conviction today for his part in the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013, which killed three people and injured over 250 more. 

After his eventual execution, the one direction Tsarnaev will be headed is straight down, if you catch my meaning.

At the present time, no members of the band One Direction have been accused of--or found guilty of--any capital crimes.