But today we wanted to focus on the darkest element of prison life – facing death.
If you’ve not seen it yet, Lasting Statement is a website / archive of the many men and women who have been executed by the state of Texas since 1982. Their final words can be profound and remorseful to the terse and chilling.
We’ve selected 8 which resonated with us the most – they serve as tales of tragedy, the perils of going down the wrong path and the quest for hope and redemption.
Since I have already said all I need to say to all my loved ones, I’m not going to say anything to y’all at this time. Y’all know I love you and y’all know where we’re at. I will see y’all when you get there. So this is my statement. To all of the racist white folks in America that hate black folks and to all of the black folks in America that hate themselves: the infamous words of my famous legendary brother, Matt Turner, “Y’all kiss my black ass.” Let’s do it.
Brian Roberson, 36
Ah, just ah sorry ya’ll. I think of tried everything I could to get in touch with ya’ll to express how sorry I am. I, I never was right after that incident happened. I sent a letter to somebody, you know a letter outlining what I feel about everything. But anyway I just wanted, right after that apologize to you. I’m real sorry for it. I was raised by the California Youth Authority, I can’t really pin point where it started, what happened but really believe that’s just the bottom line, what happened to me was in California. I was in their reformatory schools and penitentiary, but ah they create monsters in there. That’s it, I have nothing else to say. Thanks for coming Jack.
David Long, 46
Yes I do. Sir, in honor of a true American hero. “let’s roll”. Lord Jesus receive my spirit.
David Harris, 43
Keep it brief here. Just want to say, uh, family, take care of yourselves. Uh, look at this as a learning experience. Everything happens for a reason. We all know what really happened, but there are some things you just can’t fight. Little people always seem to get squashed. It happens. Even so, just got to take the good with the bad. There is no man that is free from all evil, nor any man that is so evil to be worth nothing. But it’s all part of life, and my family, take care of yourselves. Tell my wife I love her. I’ll keep an eye on everybody, especially my nieces and nephews. I’m pretty good. I love ya’ll. Take care. I’m ready.
David Castillo, 43
Yes, I do. First of all, I want you to understand I speak the truth when I say I didn’t kill your kids. Honestly I have not killed anyone. I wish you could get the rage from your hearts and you could see the truth and get rid of the hatred.
I love you all –
(names of children)
– Corey, Steve
– This is very important. I love ya’ll and I miss ya’ll. O.K., now I’m finished.
David Spence, 40
When asked if he had a last statement, he replied, “Yes, I do.”I hope that one day we can look back on the evil that we’re doing right now like the witches we burned at the stake. I want everybody to know that I hold nothing against them. I forgive them all. I hope everybody I’ve done anything to will forgive me. I’ve been praying all day for Carl Levin’s wife to drive the bitterness from her heart because that bitterness that’s in her heart will send her to Hell just as surely as any other sin. I’m sorry for everything I’ve ever done to anybody. I hope they’ll forgive me. “Sharon, tell all my friends goodbye. You know who they are: Charles Bass, David Powell…” Then he coughed and nothing else was said.
Thomas Barefoot, 39
The only thing I want to say is that I appreciate the hospitality that you guys have shown me and the respect; and the last meal was really good. That is about it. Thank you guys for being there and giving me a little bit of spiritual guidance and support.
James Collier, 55
Yes, first I would like to speak to the victims’ family. First of all, I would like to say that I do not know any of y’all and that is unfortunate, because I would like to apologize to each and every one of you individually. I can’t imagine what I have taken from y’all, but I do want to apologize and I want to let you know that I did do it. You guys know that I am guilty and I am sorry for what I have done. I apologize and I know that you may not be able to forgive me and I know that may not be able to forgive me in this life and in this world, but I hope sometime in the future you will be able to find it in you to forgive me. And I want you to know that Christina, she did not suffer as much as you think she did. I promise you that. I give you my word. I know you guys want to know where the rest of her remains are. I put her remains in the Trinity River. I have said that since I have come to death row. I want to apologize to you again. I hope sometime in the future you can forgive me. Okay, now I want to speak to my mom and my family. Brother Anderson, Kathy, I want you to know that I appreciate all these years that you have been coming to see me on death row and Daddy, I love you. I appreciate y’all being here and being strong for me, and Mama, you know I love you, and I appreciate all of these visits, the letters and everything y’all have done for me. Y’all have been wonderful. You too, Granny. I love y’all and you know, I want to apologize to y’all too for what I have done. For all of the pain that I have caused, but all of this pain has brought us closer together and all of this suffering that we have been through has brought us all closer to the Lord and in the end that is what counts. Isn’t it? That’s what counts in the end; where you stand with Almighty God. I know that God has used this to change my life. And it’s all been worth it because of that. If I lie here today where I lie, I can say in the face of death, Jesus is Lord. He has changed my life and I know that when I leave this body, I am going home to be with the Lord forever. That is all I want to say. I love y’all and I won’t say goodbye, I will say I will see you again. I love you, Daddy. Tonight I dance on the streets of gold. Let those without sin cast the first stone.
Jason Massey, 28