While many inmates use their right to a last meal as one final opportunity to indulge in their all-time favourite foods, a man on death row has made an unusual request for his – having asked that the meal be given to the homeless.
Don Johnson was sentenced to death after killing his wife, Connie, having brutally suffocated her by stuffing a bin bag down her throat in 1984.
Since then, the 68-year-old has been on death row at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Tennessee, United States.
Don Johnson, pictured in 2016. Credit: PA
Ahead of his scheduled death tonight (Thursday 16 May) by lethal injection, Johnson waived his right to have a last meal – asking instead that the food be donated to someone in need.
Public Defender Kelley Henry told Fox News: “Mr. Johnson realises that his $20 allotment will not feed many homeless people.
“His request is that those who have supported him provide a meal to a homeless person.”
Johnson had said he regretted what he did to his wife, referring to himself as a ‘monster’.
“I truly regret my life and what I became in the process,” Johnson wrote in a statement.
“I am and will continue to carry the pain of all the grief that I have caused others to endure.
“It is because of the person that I had became [sic] that I found that I was not a man but a monster and I was determined this would no longer be acceptable and I sought the Lord for I was at the bottom of the barrel and the only way left for me was up.”
Don Johnson. Credit: Tennessee Department of Correction
Many religious leaders pleaded to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to grant Johnson clemency, with his supporters claiming he had been through a religious conversion.
However, on Tuesday, Lee announced he had decided to deny clemency for Johnson, saying: “After a prayerful and deliberate consideration of Don Johnson’s request for clemency, and after a thorough review of the case, I am upholding the sentence of the State of Tennessee and will not be intervening.”
Another Tennesee death row inmate, David Earl Miller – who was the state’s longest-serving inmate – was recently executed by electrocution after 36 years on death row.
David Earl Miller selected a last meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits and coffee. Credit: PA
He was convicted of killing Lee Standifer, a 23-year-old woman with learning disabilities, in Knoxville in 1981.
“It was just a series of random events that led him here and to her and to her innocent life,“ Jim Winston, a retired Knoxville Police Department lieutenant who worked the case from the first night told Knox News.
“She was just starting a life on her own, and he took all that away from her. What she could have been or what her future might have been if she could have lived… we’ll never know.”
Miller selected a last meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits and coffee.
Featured Image Credit: Tennessee Department of Correction