The tradition of serving an inmate’s last meal is as old as the concept of death penalty itself. It originated from a superstitious belief during medieval Europe, when people thought that by offering food to the soon-to-be-executed, they are officially making peace with situations that surround the person and the crimes he or she may have committed.
Various infamous inmates have had the chance to partake with this ritual before facing their sanctioned deaths. Buzzfeed recently compiled some of the most historic last meals ever recorded in history in a viral video that has garnered half a million views since Saturday. These were the last meals eaten by infamous death row inmates.
The video featured some of the most notorious criminals in history, including John Wayne Gacy, otherwise known as the “Killer Clown,” who reportedly dressed up as “Pogo the Clown” to lure and rape his victims. He was served a costly last meal consisting of a pound of strawberries, 12 fried shrimps, french fries, and a bucket of KFC. Before being convicted of his crimes, Gacy worked as a manager of three KFC restaurants in Waterloo, Iowa.
Another equally notorious death row inmate, Ted Bundy, who was convicted of rape, necrophilia, and multiple murders in the 70s, also had a fancy meal consisting of medium rare steak, eggs, hash browns, toast with butter and jelly, milk, and juice.
A few death row inmates listed had humbler last meals. Timothy McVeigh, the bomber responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, requested two pints of chocolate chip ice cream before he was executed in 2001. Kidnapper Victor Fueger of Iowa requested a single olive, while Angel Nievez Diaz did not request any meal before his execution.
Oftentimes, death row inmates get to choose the type of meal they consume a day or two before their day of execution. However, certain food items, such as tobacco and alcohol, are prohibited. Some states have stricter restrictions than others. In Florida, for example, last meals must contain ingredients that were produced locally and must not exceed $40.
Texas has officially put a stop to the practice of serving last meals to inmates in 2011 when one death row prisoner, Lawrence Russell Brewer, ordered a huge, pricey meal containing two pieces of chicken with gravy and side onions, triple-patty bacon cheeseburger, a cheese omelet with fried cheese, a bowl of fried okra, a pound of barbecue meat, a half a loaf of white bread, three fajitas, meat-lover’s pizza, a pint of ice cream, a slab of peanut butter fudge, and three cans of root beer. He did not eat any of the food items he requested.
[Image from BuzzFeed/YouTube]