When you’re on Death Row, you don’t get a lot of luxuries in your day-to-day life, and for good reason. But many prisons, though not all, are willing to offer up a last meal for the condemned and some even go out of their way to meet unusual demands.
Here are the 25 Strangest Last Meal Requests by Death Row inmates
Robert Buell and Victor Feguer Wanted One Olive
Let’s be honest. Your trip down the Green Mile will probably be the most philosophical time in your life. If you’re like Robert Buell and his predecessor Victor Feguer you’re thinking about what you did, what’s about to happen, and maybe what you can do tomorrow.
Both men, Feguer in 1963 and Buell in 2002, requested a single black, unpitted olive for their final meal. The reason? If they were buried with the olive in their stomach, an olive tree might grow from their remains as a sign of peace.
Philip Ray Workman Asked to Feed the Homeless
It was 2007 when Philip Ray Workman was executed for murdering a police officer as he tried to escape during a robbery. Apparently, having grown a little introspective and thoughtful, Workman made an unusual request for his final meal.
He wanted a vegetarian pizza, but not for himself. He asked that prison officials find a local homeless person and give them the pizza instead. The request was denied.
Timothy McVeigh asked for Ice Cream
Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was executed in 2001 after being convicted of killing 168 people and injuring hundreds of others. However, for his final meal, the notorious bomber chose to not have anything approximating an authentic meal and instead requested two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Thomas J. Grasso’s Meal Was Ruined
Like many before and after him, Thomas J. Grasso wanted a big meal before moving on from this world. His request was steamed mussels, a Burger King double cheeseburger with a strawberry milkshake, some pumpkin pie, a mango, and a can of Spaghetti-Os. It’s a bit extravagant, sure, but no more so than most other convicts, right?
The stand out here is that Grasso chose, as some of his final words, to point out that his meal was messed up. He said, “Please tell the media I did not get my Spaghetti-O’s; I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this” because they had given him a 16-ounce can of Franco-American Spaghetti with meatballs instead.
Gerald Lee Mitchel Went for Candy
During a robbery and a subsequent drug deal, Gerald Lee Mitchell murdered one man and shot two more. When he was given the option of ordering a final meal before he was put to death, Mitchell chose to eschew the fancy dinner and instead asked for a bag of Jolly Rancher candies, which he was given.
John Conner Went All Out
John Wayne Conner wanted to ensure he wasn’t hungry when he died. So his final order was 10 pieces of crispy fried catfish, 10 hushpuppies on the side, a whole, sliced, raw onion, two triple deluxe hamburgers, and two pints of vanilla ice cream.
James Edward Smith Had Yogurt as a 2nd Choice
James Edward Smith’s final meal request is an infamous one. The man had plain yogurt, itself a little bizarre, but that wasn’t what he actually wanted. Unfortunately, his last request was not granted by the prison as they will only fulfill requests that meet specific requirements. He asked for something called rhaeakunda dirt, which he wanted for a voodoo ritual to help his spirit move on.
Dobie Gillis Williams Went All In on Chocolate
It was 1999 when Dobie Gillis Williams was executed using lethal injection. Police say Williams confessed to the crime, but no recording was made, and his conviction was questioned. Despite that, he was still executed, and for his final meal, he asked for ice cream and 12 candy bars.
Lawrence Brewer Asked for a Huge Meal
Did you know that if you’re on Death Row in Texas, you don’t get a final meal? Instead, you eat what everyone else eats that day. The reason for this lies squarely on the shoulders of Lawrence Russell Brewer. He’s the guy who ruined it for everyone else.
Brewer asked for and was given two chicken-fried steaks with gravy and onions; a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger; a cheese omelet; a bowl of fried okra; one pound of BBQ meat with half a loaf of white bread; three fajitas; a meat-lovers pizza; one pint of Blue Bell Ice Cream; peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts; and three root beers. But, of course, he ate none of it.
A state senator learned of the meal and freaked out, requesting the practice end not just because people like Brewer made a mockery of it by not eating but because their victims were granted no final requests, either.
Christopher Brooks met his demise in 2016, but before he went out, he decided to keep things relatively light and arguably unfulfilling. Instead of a meal, he asked for two peanut butter cups and a Dr. Pepper. Call it a last snack.
Gary Carl Simmons Jr. Had Enough Calories for 15 Days
In 2012, Gary Carl Simmons Jr. was executed for murdering and dismembering a man, among other things. When his time finally came, it seemed like he was hoping to kill himself with his final meal before the state could do him in.
He ordered a Pizza Hut Super Supreme Deep Dish pizza plus a regular with three kinds of cheese, olives, bell pepper, tomato, garlic, and Italian sausage. Then he had 10 8-oz. packs of Parmesan cheese; 10 8-oz. packets of ranch dressing; one family-size bag of nacho cheese Doritos; with 8 oz. of jalapeno nacho cheese; 4 oz. of sliced jalapenos; 2 large strawberry shakes; two bottles of Cherry Coke; one super-size order of McDonald’s fries with extra ketchup and mayonnaise; and two pints of strawberry ice cream. That clocked in at just under 29,000 calories.
John Wayne Gacy Had a Bucket of KFC
One of the most terrifying serial killers of all time and responsible in no small part for the modern fascination with evil clowns, John Wayne Gacy, was executed in 1994 for the murders of at least 33 young men.
Gacy’s final meal was a whopper of grease and salt consisting of 12 fried shrimp and a bucket of 21 pieces of original recipe KFC with french fries. To keep things healthy, he also requested a pound of strawberries.
Gacy was a KFC manager when he was free, so he was a loyal brand guy.
Aileen Wuornos Just Wanted a Coffee
Robert Harris Had a Feast
In 1992, Robert Harris met the gas chamber at San Quentin prison after being convicted in 1979. His final meal request reflected all those years he spent waiting for his own death. Harris had two large Domino’s pizzas, a bucket of KFC, and some ice cream. It’s also been said he had a bag of jelly beans and a pack of Camel cigarettes.
Jeffrey Barney Had Cereal
Not everyone takes their last meal request all that seriously. Jeffrey Barney spent four years on death row before his execution for murder. So when his time came, he ordered two full boxes of Frosted Flakes cereal and a pint of milk.
Odell Barnes Asked for World Peace
Odell Barnes was executed in 2000 and convicted of a ruthless murder. There was apparently a good deal of substantial evidence that he may have been innocent of his crime, but the case was never fully pursued, and Barnes was executed, anyway.
His final request was not for food but for justice, equality, and world peace. If he was guilty, that’s a confusing way to go out. If he was innocent, then it’s very sad.
James Henry Tried Something New
If you’re only getting to eat once more in your entire life, you may as well try something new. That must have been the thinking of James Henry, who decided to try a dozen raw oysters for the first time and the last time. He ate all 12, and the warden asked if he wanted more, which he declined.
James Russell Kept it Simple
James Russell, a musician before he decided to try his hand at kidnapping and murder, among other crimes, kept it simple while on his way to the chamber to die. Instead, he requested one single apple for his final meal.
Peter J. Miniel Ate Enough Food for an Army
Peter J. Miniel was executed in 2004 for committing a brutal murder. However, when it came time to eat his final meal, he clearly didn’t want to leave it to chance that he might die hungry, so he ordered enough food to feed a whole family.
His meal included 20 beef tacos, 20 beef enchiladas, two double cheeseburgers, a jalapeno pizza, fried chicken, salted spaghetti, half of a chocolate cake and half of a vanilla cake, cookies, and cream ice cream, caramel pecan fudge ice cream, a fruitcake, two Coca-Colas, two Pepsis, two root beers and two orange juices.
William Bonin Drank a Lot of Soda
William Bonin, the Freeway Killer, was a straight-up monster who killed 21 young men and boys. When he was finally executed, his last meal request was just as weird as you’d expect from someone clearly so deranged.
Officials brought him two large pepperoni and sausage pizzas, three pints of coffee ice cream, and three six-packs of Coca-Cola. It’s unknown if he got through all 18 of them.
John Spenkelink Went Out with a Shot
John Arthur Spenkelink was executed back in 1979. Whatever he may have eaten for his last meal, official or otherwise, doesn’t seem to be known. That said, we do know the last thing he consumed, and that was two shots of straight Jack Daniels that he shared with the prison superintendent.
The execution was considered somewhat controversial as Spenkelink was widely believed to have committed his crimes in self-defense. That may be why the superintendent chose to share a drink.
Yosvanis Valle Liked It Well Done
At first glance, the last meal of Yosvanis Valle isn’t all that odd. He wanted burgers, fries, and rice. Carb heavy, but what does he have to lose?
But he added the unusual distinction that he wanted all four of his burgers almost burned, his fries almost burned, and his rice almost burned. He also had jalapeno, onion, tomato, and cheese.
Benjamin Cole Has a Religious Meal
Benjamin Cole was in prison for a heinous murder, and his lawyers tried to get leniency on the grounds he was mentally ill. It didn’t work, and he was executed in 2022. His last meal request was for what the prison called a “religious meal.”
It consisted of vegetable lasagna, a tortilla, a salad, and a fruit drink packet. Still trying to figure out what religion it was from, but that was it.
Edmund Zagorski Went Full Pork
Sometimes you crave the taste of food that’s maybe considered a little embarrassing, and other people might turn their nose up at it, like peanut butter and pickles or egg salad. Or, if you’re double murderer Edmund Zagorski with nothing left to lose before your execution, you go for some pickled pig knuckles and pigtail.
A Jewish Convict Broke Kosher
There’s something to be said for acknowledging the finality of it all when it comes to your last meal. There’s a story about a Jewish convict at San Quentin who ordered a kosher meal for his last dinner and then, in the end, asked for a single ham sandwich which would be his first and last experience trying pork.