Photo: Amnesty International
Amnesty International launched a jarring anti-capital punishment campaign that depicts the last meal requests of executed men who were later proved or presumed innocent.One example is Cameron Todd Willingham, who was convicted and executed in Texas for starting a fire that killed his three daughters. Thirteen years later, the Texas Forensic Science Commission ruled that the evidence that supposedly proved the fire was caused intentionally as an act of arson was based entirely on “flawed science” — other scientists also claimed there was no evidence of arson. Willingham is presumed innocent.
For his last meal, Willingham requested tater tots, ribs, enchiladas, onion rings, and two slices of pie before he was put to death. The text reads, “If you can’t stomach this, act,” prompting people to sign a petition on Amnesty’s Facebook page.
David Spence requested fried chicken, french fries, tea, coffee, chocolate ice cream, and a Coca-Cola for his last meal.
Spence was charged and executed for the torture and murder of Kenneth Franks and Jill Montgomery, 18 and 17. The violent crime was thought to be the result of a botched murder-for-hire. No physical evidence linked him to the crime.
Following his execution, The New York Times wrote a piece that claimed, 'Those who believe that David Spence did not commit the crime for which he died include the lieutenant, now retired, who supervised the police investigation of the murders; the detective who actually conducted the investigation, and a conservative Texas businessman who, almost against his will, looked into the case and became convinced that Mr. Spence was being railroaded.'
A later report said that prisoners who testified against Spence in court were bribed with alcohol and conjugal visits.
Cantu was arrested for shooting two workmen at a house that he had allegedly broken into. One died.
Cantu was convicted based on the survivor's testimony, but according to a later investigation by the Houston Chronicle, 'he's sure that the person who shot him was not Cantu, but he felt pressured by police to identify the boy as the killer. Juan Moreno, an illegal immigrant at the time of the shooting, said his damning in-court identification was based on his fear of authorities and police interest in Cantu.'
Claude Howard Jones asked for steak, eight fried eggs, six slices of toast with jam, and sausage for his last meal.
Jones was convicted of murdering a liquor store owner during a robbery and was the last person to be executed while George W. Bush was governor of Texas. Jones was convicted primarily due to a strand of hair at the crime scene that was presumed to be his own.
Jones was executed in 1998, but according to Amnesty's ad he was presumed innocent before then in 1993.
Jones was executed in the electric chair for the sniper killing of a police officer.
Even though Jones stated that his confession (after a 12-hour questioning session) was coerced, more than a dozen people identified another man as the killer, and a juror stated he would not have voted to convict given the new evidence and asked a judge if he could rescind his decision, Jones was still put to death.
Cameron Todd Willingham asked for tater tots, ribs, enchiladas, onion rings, and two slices of pie for his last meal.
Willingham was convicted and executed in Texas for starting a fire that killed his three daughters. Willingham adamantly denied that he was guilty.
Although he was executed in 2004, a 2009 New Yorker article incited the public to question the veracity of his verdict. In 2010, the Texas Forensic Science Commission said that the science used to convict Willingham, that claimed to prove that the fire was a deliberate act of arson, was based on 'flawed science.'
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