- Gary Gilmore: “Let’s do it!”—Here’s a nice bit of trivia for you. Did you know that Nike got the inspiration for its slogan “Just do it” from the last statement of convicted murderer Gary Gilmore? It’s absolutely true, and it’s kind of creepy. Gary Gilmore was put to death on January 17, 1977 by a volunteer firing squad. He was charged with killing a motel manager (convicted) and a gas station employee (not convicted).
- Aileen Wuornos: “”I’d just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6. Like the movie, big mother ship and all, I’ll be back.”—These were the final words of 6-time murderer Aileen Wuornos. Wuornos worked as a prostitute, and she robbed and killed men as a means of supporting herself. You may recall a movie was made about her called Monster starring Charlize Theron.
- John Wayne Gacy: “Kiss my ass.”—Remember how we said some people use their last statements to apologize or share their love for others? Gacy wasn’t one of those people. Gacy’s “kiss my ass” statement was probably to be expected from a man convicted of the rape and murder of 33 men in a 6-year span.
- George Appel: “Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel.”—Appel is the only death row inmate on this list to use a pun as his final words. That creativity alone earned him a spot in our top 10 list.
- Jimmy Glass: “I’d rather be fishing.”—On June 12, 1987, Jimmy Glass was put to death in Louisiana for robbing and murdering an elderly couple after escaping a jail 5 years earlier. He was just one vote short of having the electric chair declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
- John Avalos Alba: “Okay Warden, let’s do it. I love y’all. I can taste it already. I am starting to go.”—Alba was sentenced to death after fatally shooting his estranged wife while he was out on bail for a child molestation charge. His last statement consisted of a lengthy apology and the unsettling words quoted above.
- Erskine Childers: “Take one step forward lads. It’ll be easier that way.”—IRA combatant Ernest Childers encouraged the firing squad to come a little closer to make sure they didn’t miss when shooting at him.
- Tom Ketchum: “I’ll be in hell before you start breakfast, boys. Let her rip!”—“Black Jack” Tom Ketchum was the last man to hang in America after he attempted to rob a train. He was a famous outlaw who robbed and killed plenty during his day, and he was finally caught when attempting to rob a train on his own. Here’s an interesting fact: Ketchum’s hanging was actually botched, and the noose cut his head clean off his body.
One of the comments in the original article had a nice addition:
James French also punned his last words based on his name. On the electric chair he yelled to the reporters, ” Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries’! ” that’s always been one of my favorites.
There's been lots of discussion recently (and always) about why we (lawyers) are so hated. Of course, part of it must be that we represent the scum of the earth, such as the killers listed above. But everyone is entitled to representation and rights afforded to them by the law.
My only wish was that their victims' names were as well known as their killers. Oh yah, I wish their victims were still with us.