A condemned prisoner's last meal is a customary ritual preceding execution. Various countries have various traditions in this regard. A "little glass of rum," but no formal last meal, was granted to the condemned in historical France in the minutes before execution; no meal was offered as the condemned learned of their impending execution only on the fatal morning, generally just minutes in advance.
In many countries, the prisoner may, within reason, select what the last meal will be.
In the United States, most states give the meal a day or two before execution and use the euphemism "special meal". Alcohol or tobacco are usually denied. Unorthodox or unavailable requests are replaced with substitutes. Some states place tight restrictions. In Florida, the food for the last meal must be purchased locally and the cost is limited to $40. In Oklahoma, cost is limited to $15. In Louisiana, the prison warden traditionally joins the condemned prisoner for the last meal. On one occasion, the warden paid for an inmate's lobster dinner.
In September 2011, the state of Texas abolished all special last-meal requests after condemned prisoner Lawrence Russell Brewer requested a huge last meal and did not eat any of it, saying he was not hungry. His last-meal request was for a plate of two chicken-fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions, a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger, a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, jalapeños, a bowl of fried okra with ketchup, a pound of barbecued meat with half of a loaf of white bread, a portion of three fajitas, a meat-lover's pizza (topped with pepperoni, ham, beef, bacon, and sausage), a pint of Blue Bell ice cream, a slab of peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts, and a serving equivalent to three root beers. The abolition followed a complaint by a Texas Senator, John Whitmire (Democrat, of Houston), who called the meal "inappropriate". The tradition of customized last meals is thought to have been established around 1924 in Texas.
Documented last meal requests
This represents the items reported requested but does not, in all cases, represent what the prisoner actually received.
|Name||Crime||Country||Year||Method of Dispatch||Requested Meal|
|Charles Peace||Serial killer||UK||1879||Hanging||A breakfast consisting of eggs and a large amount of salty bacon.|
|Fritz Haarmann: The Butcher of Hanover||Serial killer||Germany||1925||Decapitation by guillotine||An expensive cigar and a cup of Brazilian coffee.|
|Peter Kürten: The Vampire of Düsseldorf||Serial killer/Rapist||Germany||1931||Decapitation by guillotine||Wiener schnitzel, fried potatoes and a bottle of white wine. He requested a second helping and received it.|
|Roger Casement||Treason||UK||1916||Hanging||Communion wafer. Casement converted to Catholicism before his execution and stated he intended to go "to my death with the body of my God as my last meal."|
|Name||Crime||Country||Year||Method of Dispatch||Requested Meal|
|Adolf Eichmann||Holocaust perpetrator||(German national) Israel||1962||Hanging||Declined a special meal, instead he requested a bottle of Carmel red wine with the usual prison food of cheese, bread, olives, and tea. He drank about half of the bottle.|
|Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran||The Australian ringleaders of the Bali Nine||Indonesia||2015||Firing squad||KFC. Although Indonesia does not normally grant last meal requests, Sukumaran and Chan were granted their KFC feast via officials.|
|Leo Echegaray||Rape of his 10-year old stepdaughter||Philippines||1999||Lethal injection||He ordered a last meal of sardines and dried fish. When the reprieve was announced, he shared the food with relatives who had gathered at the prison.|
|Mona Fandey||Murderer||Malaysia||2001||Hanging at Kajang Prison||Declined a last meal; she was instead given a dinner of KFC.|
|Saddam Hussein||Crimes against humanity||Iraq||2006||Hanging||The Times states that "he refused their offers of cigarettes and a last meal of chicken and shawarma rice." Other sources state Saddam ate his last meal of chicken and rice with a cup of hot water and honey.|
|Ajmal Kasab||Terrorist involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks||India||2012||Hanging at Pune's Yerawada jail||Declined a last meal; he was given a basket of tomatoes and regular jail food.|
|John Martin Scripps||Serial killer||Singapore||1996||Hanging||A pizza and a cup of hot chocolate.|
|Cheng Chieh||Terrorist involved in the 2014 Taipei Metro attack||Taiwan||2016||Shooting||Biandang, consisting of stewed pork, rice and vegetables. |
- Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin: last to be executed in Canada; 1962 – hanging: steak, potatoes, vegetables and pie.
|Name||Crime||State||Year||Method of Dispatch||Requested Meal|
|Aileen Wuornos||Serial killer||Florida||2002||Lethal injection||Declined a special meal, but had a hamburger and other snack food from the prison's canteen. Later, she drank a cup of coffee.|
|Allen Lee Davis||Murderer||Florida||1999||Electrocution||350-pound "Tiny" Davis had one lobster tail, fried potatoes, a half-pound of fried shrimp, six ounces of fried clams, half a loaf of garlic bread, and 32 ounces of A&W root beer.|
|Alton Coleman||Spree Killer||Ohio||2002||Lethal injection||Well done filet mignon smothered with mushrooms, fried chicken breasts, a salad with French dressing, sweet potato pie with whipped cream, French fries, collard greens, onion rings, cornbread, broccoli with melted cheese, biscuits and gravy, and a cherry Coke.|
|Andrew Lackey||Murderer||Alabama||2013||Lethal injection||Turkey bologna, French fries, and grilled cheese.|
|Ángel Nieves Díaz||Murderer||Florida||2006||Lethal injection||Declined a special meal. He was served the regular prison meal for that day, but declined that as well.|
|Barton Kay Kirkham||Robber and murderer||Utah||1958||Hanging||Pizzas and ice cream, "because you get cheese, meat and everything in one meal. Not so much fuss."|
|Brian Steckel||Murderer||Delaware||2005||Lethal injection||Cheesesteak, coleslaw, and a Pepsi.|
|Bruno Richard Hauptmann||Lindbergh kidnapping and murder||New Jersey||1936||Electrocution||Celery, olives, chicken, french fries, buttered peas, cherries, and a slice of cake.|
|Cal Coburn Brown||Murderer||Washington State||2010||Lethal injection||Combination meat pizza, apple pie, coffee, and milk.|
|Clarence Ray Allen||Proxy murderer||California||2006||Lethal injection||Buffalo steak, KFC, sugar-free pecan pie and sugar-free black walnut ice cream.|
|Charles Starkweather||Murderer||Nebraska||1959||Electrocution||Declined the usual steak dinner, asking for cold cuts instead.|
|Daniel Anthony Lucas||Murderer||Georgia||2016||Lethal injection||Meat pizza, steak and cheese calzone, stuffed Portobello mushroom, chef's salad with ranch and honey mustard dressings, and orange juice.|
|Danny Rolling||The Gainesville Ripper, serial murderer||Florida||2006||Lethal injection||Lobster tail, butterfly shrimp, baked potato, strawberry cheesecake, and sweet tea.|
|David Thomas Dawson||Murderer||Montana||2006||Lethal injection||Two double cheeseburgers, two large servings of French fries, a half gallon of vanilla fudge ripple ice cream, and two Dr. Peppers.|
|David Alan Gore||Serial killer||Florida||2012||Lethal injection||Fried chicken, french fries & butter pecan ice cream.|
|David Mason||Murderer||California||1993||Gas chamber||Declined a special meal, but chose to have some ice water while waiting in his cell.|
|Dennis Wayne Bagwell||Mass Murderer||Texas||2005||Lethal injection||Medium rare steak with A1 Steak Sauce, fried chicken breasts and thighs, BBQ ribs, French fries, onion rings, bacon, scrambled eggs with onions, fried potatoes with onions, sliced tomatoes, salad with ranch dressing, two hamburgers, peach pie, milk, coffee, and iced tea with real sugar.|
|Dennis McGuire||Murderer||Ohio||2014||Lethal injection||Roast beef, fried chicken, fried potatoes, a bagel with cream cheese, a Coke and butter pecan ice cream.|
|Desmond Keith Carter||Murderer||North Carolina||2002||Lethal injection||Declined a special meal, but had two cheeseburgers, a steak sub, and two Cokes from the prison canteen, for which he paid $4.20 from his prison account.|
|Dobie Gillis Williams||Murderer||Louisiana||1999||Lethal injection||Twelve chocolate bars and some ice cream.|
|Donald Edward Beaty||Murderer||Arizona||2011||Lethal injection||A beef chimichanga with salsa and guacamole, a double cheeseburger with all the fixings, fries, 14 ounces of rocky road ice cream, and a diet Pepsi.|
|Douglas Wright||Murderer||Oregon||1996||Lethal injection||Five fried eggs sunny side up, crisp bacon, coffee and orange juice and one honey bun.|
|Edward Hartman||Murderer||North Carolina||2003||Lethal injection||A Greek salad, linguini with white clam sauce, cheesecake with cherry topping, garlic bread, and a Coke.|
|Earl Forrest||Murderer||Missouri||2016||Lethal injection||Steak, pasta, fruit plate, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, chocolate cake and milk|
|Edward Schad||Murderer||Arizona||2013||Lethal injection||A 12 inch meatball sub, a large order of french fries with ketchup, two ears of corn on the cob, two ounces of cranberry sauce, a slice of apple pie, and a vanilla milkshake.|
|Elijah Page||Murderer||South Dakota||2007||Lethal injection||Steak, jalapeño poppers with cream sauce, onion rings, a salad with cherry tomatoes, ham chunks, shredded cheese, bacon bits, and blue cheese and ranch dressing, coffee, lemon iced tea, and ice cream.|
|Eric Nance||Murderer||Arkansas||2005||Lethal injection||Two bacon cheeseburgers, french fries, two pints of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and two Coca-Colas.|
|Eric Wrinkles||Mass Murderer||Indiana||2009||Lethal injection||Prime rib, a "loaded" baked potato, pork chops with steak fries, rolls and two salads with ranch dressing, served three days before execution because Indiana State Prison system found that condemned inmates tend to lose their appetite near the end.|
|Frank Spisak||Serial Killer||Ohio||2011||Lethal Injection||Spaghetti with light tomato sauce but no meat, tossed salad with Italian dressing, chocolate cake, coffee with cream and sugar and a root beer.|
|Francis Crowley||Murderer||New York||1932||Electrocution||Steak and onions, French fries, apple pie, ice cream and melted ice cream.|
|Frederick Treesh||Murderer||Ohio||2013||Lethal injection||Steak with mushrooms, eggs, hash browns, cottage cheese, onion rings, deep-fried mushrooms, a hot fudge sundae and sodas.|
|Gary Lee Davis||Murderer||Colorado||1997||Lethal injection||Chocolate and vanilla ice cream cups, shared with the prison superintendent and a manager.|
|Gary Gilmore||Murderer||Utah||1977||Firing squad||A hamburger, hard-boiled eggs, a baked potato, a few cups of coffee, and three shots of contraband Jack Daniel's whiskey.|
|Gary Michael Heidnik||Murderer||Pennsylvania||1999||Lethal injection||Two slices of a cheese pizza and two cups of black coffee.|
|Gary Carl Simmons, Jr.||Murderer||Mississippi||2012||Lethal injection||One Pizza Hut medium Super Supreme Deep Dish pizza with double portions of mushrooms, onions, jalapeño peppers, and pepperoni, a second pizza with three cheeses, olives, bell pepper, tomato, garlic, and Italian sausage, 10 8-oz. packs of Parmesan cheese, 10 8-oz. packs of ranch dressing, one family size bag of Doritos nacho cheese flavor, 8 oz. jalapeño nacho cheese, 4 oz. sliced jalapeños, 2 large strawberry shakes, two 20-oz. cherry Cokes, one super-size order of McDonald's fries with extra ketchup and mayonnaise, and two pints of strawberry ice cream. He consumed about half of the meal.|
|Gerald Lee Mitchell||Murderer||Texas||2001||Lethal injection||Assorted bag of Jolly Rancher candies  |
|Gerald Stano||Serial killer||Florida||1998||Electrocution||Delmonico steak, a baked potato with sour cream and bacon bits, tossed salad with blue cheese dressing, lima beans, a half gallon of mint chocolate-chip ice cream, and 2 litres of Pepsi.|
|Hastings Arthur Wise||Mass murderer||South Carolina||2005||Lethal injection||Lobster tail, french fries, coleslaw, banana pudding and milk.|
|Ignacio Cuevas||Perpetrator of the 1974 Huntsville Prison Siege||Texas||1991||Lethal injection||Chicken and dumplings, steamed rice, sliced bread, black-eyed peas, and iced tea.|
|James Otto Earhart||Murderer||Texas||1999||Lethal injection||Steak, french fries, and one vanilla milkshake.|
|James Edward Smith||Murderer||Texas||1990||Lethal injection||A lump of dirt, which was denied. He settled for a cup of yogurt.|
|James Hubbard||Murderer||Alabama||2004||Lethal injection||Two eggs over-medium, four pieces of bacon, sliced tomatoes, fried green tomatoes, pineapple slices with mayonnaise, white bread, a banana and a medium-sized V8 juice.|
|Joe Arridy||Falsely accused of rape and murder. Posthumously pardoned in 2011||Colorado||1939||Gas chamber||Ice cream.|
|John David Duty||Murderer||Oklahoma||2010||Lethal injection||A double cheeseburger with mayonnaise, a foot-long hot dog with cheese, mustard and extra onions, a cherry limeade, and a large banana shake.|
|John Wayne Gacy||Serial murderer||Illinois||1994||Lethal injection||A dozen deep-fried shrimp, a bucket of original recipe chicken from KFC, French fries, a pound of strawberries, and a bottle of diet coke.|
|John Allen Muhammad||The Beltway Sniper, murder||Virginia||2009||Lethal injection||Chicken with red sauce and several cakes.|
|John Albert Taylor||Murderer||Utah||1996||Firing squad||Antacid medicine, a cigarette, and pizzas "with everything."|
|Joseph Paul Franklin||Serial Killer||Missouri||2013||Lethal injection||Declined the traditional last meal, but had a lunch of roast beef and potatoes.|
|Joseph Mitchell Parsons||Murderer||Utah||1999||Lethal injection||Three Burger King Whoppers, two large orders of fries, a chocolate shake, chocolate chip ice cream, and a package of grape Hubba Bubba bubblegum, to be shared with his brother and a cousin.|
|Joseph Taborsky||Spree Killer||Connecticut||1960||Electrocution||Banana split, cherry soda, coffee with cream and sugar, and a pack of cigarettes.|
|Keith Zettlemoyer||Murderer||Pennsylvania||1995||Lethal injection||Two cheeseburgers, fries, chocolate pudding and chocolate milk.|
|Lawrence Russell Brewer||Murderer||Texas||2011||Lethal injection||Two chicken fried steaks smothered in gravy with sliced onions; a triple meat bacon cheeseburger with fixings on the side; a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapeños; a large bowl of fried okra with ketchup; one pound of barbecue with half a loaf of white bread; three fajitas with fixings; a Meat Lovers pizza; three root beers; one pint of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream; and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. Brewer's request was granted, but he refused the meal when it arrived saying that he was simply not hungry, prompting Texas to stop granting last meal requests to condemned inmates.|
|Ledell Lee||Murdered his neighbor||Arkansas||2017||Lethal injection||Chose to receive Holy Communion as his last meal.|
|Leon Moser||Mass Murderer||Pennsylvania||1995||Lethal injection||A large cheese pizza, cheese slices, cold cuts, pasta salad, iced cup cakes and a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola.|
|Lowell Lee Andrews||Mass Murderer||Kansas||1962||Hanging||Two fried chickens with sides of mashed potatoes, green beans and Pie a la Mode.|
|Marcel Williams||Murderer||Arkansas||2017||Lethal injection||400-pound Marcel Williams last meal consisted of 3 pieces of original recipe KFC fried chicken, banana pudding, nachos with chili cheese and jalapeno peppers, two 16 oz bottles of Mountain Dew, and potato logs with ketchup.|
|Marion Albert Pruett||Spree killer||Arkansas||1999||Lethal injection||A stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut, four Burger King Whoppers, a large order of French fries, three two-liter bottles of Pepsi, a bucket of ice, a bottle of ketchup, salt, fried eggplant, fried squash, fried okra, and a pecan pie. In an interview prior to his execution date, he said he was going to share his last meal with another inmate who was going to be executed the same day. He went on to say he originally wanted to have a roast duck for his last meal, but declined because he felt the prison wouldn't cook it.|
|Mark Dean Schwab||Murderer||Florida||2008||Lethal injection||Fried eggs (over easy), bacon, sausage links, hash browns, buttered toast, and a quart of chocolate milk.|
|Mark Hopkinson||Proxy murderer||Wyoming||1992||Lethal injection||Pizza, shared with his mother and other family members.|
|Martha Beck||Serial Killer||New York||1951||Electrocution||Fried chicken, fried potatoes and salad.|
|Michael Bruce Ross||Serial murder||Connecticut||2005||Lethal injection||Declined a special meal, but dined on the regular prison meal of the day: turkey à la king with rice, mixed vegetables, white bread, fruit, and a beverage.|
|Oba Chandler||Murderer||Florida||2011||Lethal injection||Two salami sandwiches on white bread with mustard, peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich on white bread, iced tea and coffee.|
|Odell Barnes||Murderer||Texas||2000||Lethal injection||"Justice, Equality, World Peace."|
|Paul Ezra Rhoades||Serial killer||Idaho||2011||Lethal injection||Hot dogs, sauerkraut, mustard, ketchup, onions, relish, baked beans, veggie sticks, ranch dressing, fruit with gelatin and strawberry ice cream cups|
|Perry Smith and Richard Hickock||Mass murders||Kansas||1965||Hanging||Shrimp, French fries, garlic bread, ice cream, and strawberries with whipped cream.|
|Philip Workman||Murderer||Tennessee||2007||Lethal injection||Declined a special meal for himself, but he asked for a large vegetarian pizza to be given to a homeless person in Nashville, Tennessee. This request was denied by the prison, but carried out by others across the country.|
|Rainey Bethea||Murder and rape||Kentucky||1936||Hanged, last person executed in public in the US||Fried chicken, pork chops, mashed potatoes, pickled cucumbers, cornbread, lemon pie, and ice cream.|
|Ralph Hudson||Murderer||New Jersey||1963||Electrocution||Prime rib steak, ice cream and a cigar.|
|Randy Greenawalt||Serial killer||Arizona||1997||Lethal injection||Two cheeseburgers, french fries with extra salt, coffee with milk.|
|Raymond Fernandez||Serial Killer||New York||1951||Electrocution||Onion omelet, french fries, chocolate candy, and a Cuban cigar.|
|Richard Albert Leavitt||Murderer||Idaho||2012||Lethal injection||Baked chicken, french fries, and milk.|
|Ricky Ray Rector||Murderer||Arkansas||1992||Lethal injection||Steak, fried chicken, cherry Kool-Aid, and a pecan pie. Rector, rendered mentally incapacitated by his suicide attempt after murdering a police officer, said that he did not eat the pie because he was saving it for later.|
|Richard Cooey||Murder and rape||Ohio||2008||Lethal injection. Clemency appeal based on his being too overweight for lethal injection drugs to work on him properly||T-bone steak with A-1 sauce, onion rings, French fries, four eggs over easy, toast with butter, hash browns, a pint of rocky road ice cream, a Mountain Dew soft drink and authentic bear claw pastries |
|Robert Alton Harris||Murderer||California||1992||Gas Chamber||A 21-piece bucket of KFC, two large Domino's Pizzas (no anchovies), ice cream, a bag of jelly beans, a six-pack of Pepsi, and a pack of Camel cigarettes. The pizza was actually a Tombstone Pizza, per Vernell Crittendon's orders. Crittendon worked at the prison and was responsible for dealing with the condemned person before his execution.|
|Robert Moorman||Murderer||Arizona||2012||Lethal injection||One double hamburger (two quarter-pound patties prepared “medium”) with two slices of onion, three leaves of lettuce, three tomato slices and a bun; plus French fries (with four ounces of ketchup), two three-ounce beef burritos, three Royal Crown colas, and two 14-ounce containers of Rocky Road ice cream.|
|Ronald Clark O'Bryan||Murderer||Texas||1984||Lethal injection||T-bone steak (medium to well done), French fries with ketchup, whole kernel corn, sweet peas, a lettuce and tomato salad with egg and French dressing, iced tea, sweetener, saltines, Boston cream pie, and rolls.|
|Ronnie Lee Gardner||Murderer||Utah||2010||Firing squad||Lobster tail, steak, apple pie, vanilla ice cream, 7 Up, and watching The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.|
|Ruth Snyder||Murderer||New York||1928||Electrocution, photographed in the electric chair||Chicken Parmesan with alfredo pasta, ice cream, two milkshakes, and a 12-pack of grape soda.|
|Stephen Wayne Anderson||Murder||California||2002||Lethal injection||Two grilled cheese sandwiches, one pint of cottage cheese, a hominy-corn mixture, one piece of peach pie, one pint of chocolate chip ice cream, and radishes.|
|Ted Bundy||Serial killer||Florida||1989||Electrocution||Declined a special meal, so he was given (but did not eat) the traditional steak (medium-rare), eggs (over easy), hash browns, toast, milk, coffee, juice, butter, and jelly.|
|Teresa Lewis||Proxy murderer||Virginia||2010||Lethal injection||Two fried chicken breasts, sweet peas with butter, a Dr Pepper and German chocolate cake for dessert.|
|Terry Douglas Clark||Murderer||New Mexico||2001||Lethal injection||Several jumbo shrimp, French fries, fried okra, peach cobbler, ice cream, and a Coke.|
|Terry Jess Dennis||Murderer||Nevada||2004||Lethal injection||Two cheeseburgers and a Coke with ice.|
|Thomas J. Grasso||Murderer||Oklahoma||1995||Lethal injection||Two dozen steamed mussels, two dozen steamed clams, a double cheeseburger from Burger King, half-dozen barbecued spare ribs, two strawberry milkshakes, half a pumpkin pie with whipped cream and diced strawberries, and a 16-ounce can of spaghetti with meatballs, served at room temperature. However, he issued a public statement complaining that he had requested SpaghettiOs, not spaghetti.|
|Timothy McVeigh||Domestic terrorist/mass murder||Oklahoma, executed in Indiana||2001||Lethal injection||Two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.|
|Velma Barfield||Murderer||North Carolina||1984||Lethal injection||Declined a special meal, having a bag of Cheez Doodles and a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola instead.|
|Victor Feguer||Murderer||Iowa||1963||Hanging||Requested a single olive with the pit still in it.|
|Wesley Baker||Murderer||Maryland||2005||Lethal injection||Breaded fish, pasta marinara, green beans, orange fruit punch, bread, and milk (this was what was on the prison menu that day).|
|Westley Allan Dodd||The Vancouver Child Killer, serial killer and child molester||Washington state||1993||Hanging||Salmon and potatoes.|
|William Bonin||Serial murderer and rapist||California||1996||Lethal injection||Two pepperoni and sausage pizzas, three servings of chocolate ice cream, and three six-packs of Coca-Cola and Pepsi.|
|William G. Zuern, Jr.||Murderer||Ohio||2004||Lethal injection||Mashed potatoes and gravy, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, corn, garlic bread, chocolate milk, and cherry cheesecake.|
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