4/28/11

From: Suzanne Labarre at Fastco Design

Call it morbid fascination, but we’ve always wondered what death-row inmates ate for their last supper. Donuts? KFC? A nice, juicy onion?

All of the above, it turns out. Graphic designer James Reynolds recreated the final food requests of nine American prisoners executed between 1963 and 2006, then photographed the meals -- each starkly arranged on an inmate-orange cafeteria tray -- in his London studio. He titled the series, appropriately, Last Suppers.

The photos are haunting. Consider the meal for John Wayne Gacy aka the Killer Clown: a bucket of original-recipe Kentucky Fried Chicken (which is extra creepy because Gacy had worked for KFC and abused male employees there). Or the one for Eddie Lee Mays, the last man executed in New York state, who, in an ultimate middle finger to the whole lousy system (we presume), eschewed provisions altogether, instead opting for a pack of Pall Malls. With these pictures, Reynolds has created a final slice of humanity for those condemned as inhumane.

4/19/11

Criminal punishments have always been a part of society. From the earliest days of civilization crime and criminals has been dealth with by issuing a puinishment. The punishment has not always fit the crime and throughout history debates have raged concerning appropriate punishments. The 1900's saw a diversity in punishments as society became more civilized and less interested in vengence than rehabilitation.

Firing Squad
Firing squads are a method of capital punishment whereupon the prisoner is shot and killed. Five gunman take aim and fire into the prisoners heart. Four have live rounds but one will shoot only a blank. Firing squads became the basic method of military execution when guns replaced swords in battle. It is still a secondary option for execution in Oklahoma.

Electric Chair
The electric chair is a form of punishment used to electrocute offenders. It was first used to execute human beings in 1890. It remained a major form of execution throughout the century and into the following centuries. Crimes punishable by the electric chair are those involved in the course of a murder.

Hanging
Hanging was used in most capital cases in the early 1900's and continues to be an option in New Hampshire and Maine. It was later replaced by firing squads and the electric chair. Prisoners are weighed and measured to ensure a quick drop to death. Hangings do not always result in death and were eventually deemed an unreliable form of punishment.

Gas Chamber
The gas chamber is a sealed chamber that fills with poisonous gas in order to kill a human being. Gas chambers became a form of execution in the 1920's. They were used in Nazi Germany to kill massive amounts of people during Holocaust. Death is not always immediate within a gas chamber. Therefore, it is controversial and often deemed inhumane and cruel.

Fines
Fines and fees were used as punishment during the 1900's for misdemenor criminal offences. A fine would be assigned to each offender in accordance with the crime. Fines are used with a jail sentence or without and must be paid with a specific time frame.

Imprisonment
Imprisonment in a jail or prison was used in the 1900's. Magistrates and judges sentence the offenders to a specific amount of time in incarceration. Imprisonment can also include work houses and group homes. Resticting an offender from leaving his own home is a form of imprisonment developed in the late 19th century. Children are housed in a special juvenile facility.

4/6/11

Christina Riggs - Arkansas


"There is no way words can express how sorry I am for taking the lives of my babies. Now I can be with my babies, as I always intended."

—Christina Marie Riggs, executed in Arkansas on May 3, 2000


The story of Christina Riggs has always interested me.
She was not insane.
She was not coerced or beaten.

She smothered the life out of her two preschool aged children in their own beds.

She was a licensed nurse. Single mother of two living in Arkansas. She killed her children and then took enough undiluted potassium chloride to kill five grown adults. She also took up wards of 40 Elavil and laid down next to her children.

Her suicide notes tell of a life full of misery, of loneliness of certainty. She had been raped, abused, and molested her entire life. From 7 to 13 years by neighbors, family friends and her step brother. Like most every single victim of that type of abuse she gained weight, became sexually promiscuous and pregnant by 16. She gave that child up for adoption only to become pregnant again shortly after.

She married, had a few miscarriages and during her last pregnancy was working in a hospital when the Oklahoma City bombings took place. From this point on she was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress syndrome. Suicide was never far from her mind. She was afraid her death would result in a separation of her children or a life of equal misery for them; shuffled from relative to relative or foster homes.

She obviously had no will to live and fully intended to kill herself.

Somehow, she lived. Paramedics found her and rushed her to the hospital. Once they necessitated her they gave her a death sentence. I just don't understand that. Not a bit.

During her trial she refused an insanity plea citing only her complete and utter depression and a will to die. She asked and received a death sentence and thanked the jury when she received it. She appealed only reluctantly and with no hope or wish for a remedy.

She was put to death in 2000.

4/5/11

Super Bowl Party Tradition

Authored by Rickey Combs

Since the Super Bowl only comes once a year, I have to make sure my party sends out the season with a bang. Hosting the Super Bowl party is very special to me because it continues a tradition I started years ago when I moved into my home. For 10 years now, all of my neighbors and friends come over to my house to watch the game on my hulu tv.

The first year I moved here, I hosted the Super Bowl party and my next-door neighbor brought a friend; she would soon become my wife. Now, we've been married for four years and have been continuing the Super Bowl party ever since. We both like to grill, so our party is full of barbeque chicken and ribs.

We always buy about five different bags of chips, but we also encourage our guests to bring plenty of beer or wine. There's been a discussion that the football season might be postponed next year, so I want to make sure this party is one we'll remember for at least two more years.

Matthew Perkins Triple Murder

The man who committed these murders recruited my daughter into the Army. We had quite a bit of contact with him at the time. Can you ima...