More than 50 nations worldwide implement capital punishment for heinous crimes. Still, it seems that only the United States allows prisoners on death row to have something called “last meals” a day or two before execution.

Facing a looming death penalty, a criminal offender has the chance to ask for a special meal with some restrictions; alcohol and tobacco are usually denied, while unusual requests are replaced with substitutes.

In the name of humanity as well as for the sake of making a noticeable difference between capital punishment and extrajudicial execution, the condemned are granted an opportunity to feast upon foods and beverages of their choosing, as long as the requests are objectively reasonable and reasonably affordable.

In Florida, the food for a last meal must be available locally and cost no more than $40. The limit in Oklahoma is $15. Throughout history, the last meals asked by some of the most dangerous criminals have been well-documented.

10 Victor Feguer

In the summer of 1960, Victor Feguer kidnapped and murdered Doctor Edward Bartels.

Feguer was native to Michigan, and when he was in Iowa, he called the doctor (whom he chose randomly from a Yellow Book) and claimed that a woman needed medical attention.

Feguer kidnapped the doctor and killed him with a single gunshot to the head in Illinois.

A few days later, he was arrested after trying to sell Dr. Bartels’ car in Montgomery, Alabama. Because he crossed state lines, Feguer faced federal charges.

For his crimes, he was sentenced to death by hanging in Iowa State Penitentiary at Fort Madison. For his last meal, he asked for a single olive with the pit in it. He was buried carrying the olive pit in his pocket.

9 John Wayne Gacy

Also known as “The Killer Clown” from his performances at children’s hospitals as a clown, John Wayne Gacy was convicted and executed for the rape and murder of 33 boys and young men between 1872 and 1978.

The corpses of 27 victims were buried in his house’s crawlspace, while others were found in nearby rivers.

He was arrested in December 1978 for possession of marijuana, but a search warrant to his home led to the discovery of human remains.

Gacy was executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994, at Stateville Correctional Center in Cress Hill, Illinois. He had a dozen fried shrimp for his last meals, a bucket of original recipe KFC, French fries, and a pound of strawberries.



8 Timothy McVeigh

One of the perpetrators of the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, Timothy McVeigh, was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001, at Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The bombing killed 168 people and injured hundreds of others. It remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in the United States.

After the bombing, he was shortly arrested for driving without license plates and possession of an illegal firearm.

He was eventually indicted on 11 federal counts, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction. His last meal consisted of two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

7 Ricky Ray Rector

In March 1981, Ricky Ray Rector and some of his friends went to a dance hall at a restaurant in Conway, Arkansas.

When one friend was denied entry for being unable to pay a $3 cover charge, Rector pulled a .38 pistol from his waist and fired several shots, killing one person and injuring two others.

Rector fled the scene. About three days later, he turned himself into Robert Martin, a police officer he had known since childhood.

When Rector saw Officer Martin already at his mother’s home, he shot the officer twice; one in the jaw and another in the neck.

Rector attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head. He survived the suicide attempt but eventually was convicted on two counts of murder and executed by lethal injection in 1992.

Mentally incapacitated during his time on death row, Rector requested steak, fried chicken, cherry Kool-Aid, and pecan pie for his last meal.

6 Stephen Anderson

On May 26, 1980, Stephen Anderson burglarized the home of Elizabeth Lyman, an 80 years old retired piano teacher in Bloomington, California.

He removed a glass pane from French doors and checked the house for occupants. When Anderson found Lyman’s awake and screaming in the bedroom, he shot her in the face with a .45 caliber magnum.

He then covered her body with a blanket, recovered the casing from the hollow-point bullet that killed her, and ransacked the home. He found less than $100. Anderson then prepared himself a meal in the kitchen.

A suspicious neighbor called the sheriff’s department; when sheriff’s deputies arrived at Lyman’s home, Anderson was eating while watching TV. He was sentenced to death in July 1981.

For his last meal before execution day on January 29, 2002, he asked for two grilled cheesed sandwiches, a pint of cottage cheese, a hominy/corn mixture, peach pie, chocolate chip ice cream, and radishes.

5 Ronnie Lee Gardner

In 1980, Ronnie Lee Gardner served time in prison for robbery and escaped in 1981. While out, Gardner went out and confronted a man he believed had raped his girlfriend.

During the confrontation, he was shot in the neck and eventually sent back to prison, from which he managed to escape again in August 1984.

About two months later, in October 1984, while under the influence of cocaine, he robbed a tavern in Salt Lake City and killed the bartender Melvyn John Otterstrom.

Gardner was apprehended three weeks later. In April 1985, he unsuccessfully tried to escape from custody during a trial proceeding for the Otterstrom murder and killed an attorney Michael Burdell in the process.

Ultimately sentenced to death by firing squad and executed on June 18, 2010, Gardner’s request for a last meal consisted of a steak, a lobster tail, apple pie, vanilla ice cream, and 7-Up before starting a 48-hour fast while watching The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and reading Divine Justice crime novel.

4 Ted Bundy

Over four years between February 1974 and February 1978, Ted Bundy claimed to have committed 30 homicides in seven states, although the actual number of victims is most likely higher.

He was arrested for the last time (after multiple successful escapes) on February 15, 1978. He was convicted on numerous counts of aggravated kidnapping, attempted murder, burglary, and murder.

About three years later, in 1980, Bundy was sentenced for the third time. This third death sentence would be carried out nine years later.

Bundy did not ask for a special meal, so he was given the “traditional” last meal consisting of steak, eggs, hash browns, toast with butter, jelly, juice, coffee, and milk.

3 Allen Lee Tiny Davis

Sentenced to death by electric chair for three counts of first-degree murder, Allen Lee Davis was a cruel criminal who killed Nancy Weiler and her two daughters in 1982.

Mrs. Weiler was three months pregnant when he killed her. She was beaten almost beyond recognition with .357 magnum as she was hit more than 25 times in the face and head.

Her daughter Kristina (age 10) was shot twice in the face, and Katherine (age 5) was shot while trying to run and beaten in the skull with the gun. Davis was executed on July 8, 1999.

He requested a last meal that consisted of lobster tail, fried potatoes, half a pound of fried shrimp, ounces of fried clams, half a loaf of garlic bread, and 32 ounces of A&W root beer.

2 Teresa Lewis

The only woman on death row in Virginia before her execution, Teresa Lewis was sentenced to death for the murders of her husband Julian Lewis and her step-son Charles Lewis to collect insurance money.

She did not pull the trigger but asked other people to kill the victims. Lewis gave some money to Matthew Jessee Shallenberger (age 21) and Rodney Lamont Fuller (19) to buy guns and ammunition to do the killings. Lewis had a sexual relationship with both Shallenberger and Fuller.

She was executed on September 23, 2010, by lethal injection. Her coconspirators were sentenced to life imprisonment. For her last meal, Lewis had fried chicken, peas with butter, apple pie, and a Dr. Pepper.

1 Ronnie Threadgill

Three young men named Christopher Lane, Kevin Williams, and Dexter McDonald walked out of a nightclub in Navarro County, Texas, and got into a car. The car owner, Lane, got back out to talk to someone.

Then suddenly, Ronnie Threadgill approaches the vehicle and fired two shots. Williams got out. One of the bullets hit McDonald. The shooter got into the driver’s seat and drove away with McDonald still in the car and injured.

Threadgill stopped at a nearby stop sign, pulled McDonald out, left him on the ground, and then continued driving away.

He was finally arrested after crashing the car into a ditch. Threadgill was sentenced to death for his crimes in July 2002 and executed by lethal injection on April 16, 2013.

He didn’t have the chance to ask for the last meal because the state of Texas had already revoked the last meal option two years earlier.

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