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The Controversial Database of Executed Prisoners’ Last Words

The Controversial Database of Executed Prisoners’ Last Words

Last month, the state of Texas carried out its 500th execution since it reinstated capital punishment in 1982. Texas executes more inmates than any state in the country, and averages one execution every three weeks. The New York Times has posted this look at a haunting, sad and truly surreal database of the last statements made by the convicted prisoners in the moments before they executed. The public database is not without its critics though—The NYT piece quoted the director of the Embrey Human Rights Program at Southern Methodist University who said, “Posting the final words of a condemned person after a process which has usually lasted a decade or more is simply a disservice.” The database has even inspired a blog that posts links to news stories about the inmates’ crimes, as well as a collection of final statements like this one, made by 49-year-old George Hopper who was convicted of killing a physician’s wife in exchange for $1,500.

I want to apologize to you, and I am sorry. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. The things I did changed so many lives. I can’t take it back, it was an atrocity. I am sorry. I beg your forgiveness, I know I am not worthy of it. I love you Mom and Dad, and all my family. Thank you for everything. Jesus, thank you for your love and saving grace. Thank you for shedding your blood on Calvary for me. Thank you Jesus for the love you have shown me.

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