Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lisa Coleman, #999511; September 17, 2014

I just want to tell my family I love them; my son, I love him. The girls on the row, I love them and keep their heads up. Tell Darlie I love her, hand in hand. God bless y'all. I'm alright. Tell them I finished strong. I love y'all. I'm done. I love you, Richie. I love you. Thank you, Brad and John, all of y'all. God is good. I love you, Auntie. I'm done.

Offender information

For additional information, please see this Associated Press article

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Willie Trotter, #999085; September 10, 2014

Nesha, I love you. I hope this brings you some closure. Titus, if his kids are out there, I'm sorry for your dad. Shan, Charlotte, Baisey, I love you. T.T., I love you. Stay strong.

Michelle, Tammy, Damen, I'm going home. Lawrence, I love you. I am going home to be with the Lord. Find it in your hearts to forgive me. I'm sorry, stay strong. Jesus, take me home.

For additional information, please see this Associated Press article

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jose Villegas, #999417; April 16, 2014

(Written statement)
I always said that if I even get to this point, I would have already said everything that needed to be said to all of those who I love and have been with me throughout this whole journey. Today, I realized that I can never say everything that needed to be said, because there is still so much that needs to be said. First of all, I love you. My children, my friends, and all my brothers who have shared this experience with me on the row and who continue to experience this without me, keep your heads up. I love all of you. Secondly, I am ok. I have peace in my heart and ready for the next journey. I'm really ok. Last but not least, to my true brother in life, Crazy J, I love you, man. You and Bella have been the best. I'm sorry I couldn't talk with you before all of this, but you know me...You are my bro. I love you. I'm ok. My babies, remember what I said. We'll be together soon. I love all of you. John 14:27.

(Spoken statement)
Yes, I left a written statement. I do have a verbal statement. I would like to remind my children once again, I love them. Crazy J, I forgot to write a list. Everything is ok. I love you all, and I love my children. I am at peace. John 14:27. I am done, Warden. 

For additional information, please see this Associated Press article

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ramiro Hernandez, #999342; April 9, 2014

Yes, sir. First I would like to thank God for letting me see my family. I say this with love, I'm sorry. I say this for my family with love and with God, I love you. I'm happy, and I would like to say on behalf of my family, I love y'all. I am happy. I look into my family's eyes, and I see sadness. Don't be sad, I'm happy. I am sorry for what I have done. Be mindful that I am happy till the end. To the family of my boss, I love you. Young people, listen to your parents; always do what they tell you to do, go to school, learn from your mistakes. Be careful before you sign anything with your name. Never, despite what other people say. God is with y'all. God is the only witness that knows what happened that night. I, Ramiro Hernandez, say this with lots of love to young people, listen to your parents please. Live your life to the fullest, you only live your life once. To the prison system, I would like to thank y'all. Thanks to the officers and to the warden that are going to witness this. I say this with a lot of love and happiness. I have no pain and no guilt. All I have is love. Love will win. Thank you God, I am going with you. 

Offender information

For additional information, please see this Associated Press article

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My life, my life.


After two and a half years and more than 500 posts, Lost Words in the Chamber has reached the end of the Texas archives of executed offenders. Yesterday's post on Humberto Leal brought us completely up to date, as the convict that followed Leal into the execution chamber, Mark Stroman, was the first Lost Words entry to be chronicled in real time, way back in July of 2011.

It has been a chronicle of the monstrous and of the penitent; of men proclaiming to the end their innocence despite all evidence, and of those whose proclamations still linger, haunting. There were those whose crimes were borne of passion, of reckless stupidity, of simple barbarism, and strapped to the table were the born-again, or the defiant, or the simpleminded, or the coldly cunning. All of them, though, had what few of us ever do- the sure, grim knowledge of their appointed hour and the opportunity to make one, final transmission before signing off forever. Lost Words, more than anything else, has been a chronicle of the fear and hope with which humans face the dark truth of their own mortality.

The blog started with Texas, in part, because Texas is the perennial execution leader in the United States, but I chose Texas principally because of the depth and quality of its death row archives. When I first discovered them, thanks to the urging of Associated Press reporter Mike Graczyk, I was immediately awed by the piety, the viciousness, the terror, and, yes, sometimes even the humor of these final statements. I read them for days.

Texas, however, is unique. The record keeping of other states doesn't seem to be nearly so complete, nor publicly available, as that of the Friendship State. With this in mind, Lost Words will be moving into a research phase, as we figure out a way to move forward with materials from other states. In the meantime, the blog will continue to publish the last words of executed offenders in Texas as they happen (tonight, in fact, Texas has scheduled the execution of Anthony Doyle). So, though they'll be coming infrequently for the time being, keep your eyes on the blog for future updates.

Thanks for reading,

Daniel De Simone