What do death row inmates ask to eat before they are executed? This is a question Brooklyn-based artist Henry Hargreaves wanted to explore in his “No Seconds” series of last meal photos. Each last meal request is unique in how it reflects the humanity of these hardened and in some cases terrifying criminals.
Hargreaves wrote of the project on his website, “Researching this topic strangely personalized these people for me and for a moment I was able to identify with them through the common denominator of food.” Hargreaves was born in New Zealand, where the death penalty has been completely abolished.
These 12 last meal photos are a reminder that despite the sometimes horrifying crimes committed by these people, they are still people at the end of the day. The state of Texas ended the last meal policy in September 2011.
1. Stephen Anderson was an incredibly violent person. He was arrested for the murder of Elizabeth Lyman, but also killed an inmate at Utah State Prison.
2. Ted Bundy is one of the most infamous serial killers in American history. He admitted to murdering 30 people, however, the actual number of victims may be much higher.
3. Allen Lee Davis brutally murdered a woman and her two young daughters. He was the last Florida inmate to be executed by the electric chair.
4. Angel Nieves Diaz maintained his innocence through his incarceration. In his final statement, he said: “The state of Florida is committing a crime because I am innocent.”
5. Victor Feguer murdered a physician in the summer of 1960. He was the last person to be executed in Iowa before the state abolished the death penalty.
6. John Wayne Gacy’s murders were some of the most abhorrent and horrifying crimes ever committed. The fact that he would dress as a clown for parties makes him even scarier.
7. Ronnie Lee Gardner ate his last meal and commenced a 48-hour fast before his execution. As a Mormon, Gardner requested a firing squad for religious reasons.
8. Teresa Lewis murdered her husband and stepson in the hopes of cashing in on a $250,000 life insurance policy. Her execution sparked a public debate about the practice.
9. Before the September 11th attacks, Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was the largest act of terrorism committed on American soil.
10. Ricky Ray Rector shot himself in the head before his arrest, resulting in a frontal lobotomy. His mental state prior to execution sparked a debate regarding the death penalty.
11. Texas stopped the last meal program in 2011 because an inmate named Lawrence Russell Brewer requested a huge meal and then said he was not hungry.
12. Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco’s case became one of the most controversial in history, as the trial suffered from a biased jury foreman and conflicting evidence.