Eggs

Gary Mark Gilmore, Robbery/Murder, Utah State Prison, Utah, 1977;
Gilmore was the first man put to death after the U.S. reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Ice cream cones

Lewis Gilbert, Murder, Oklahoma State Penitentiary, Oklahoma, 2003

Cracker

James Hudson, Murder, Greensville Correctional Center, Virginia, 2004

Donut

Thomas Treshawn Ivey, Murder, Broad River Correctional Institution, South Carolina, 2006

Fruit

Louis Jones Jr., Kidnap/Rape/Murder, Terre Haute Federal Correctional Complex, Indiana, 2003

KFC

John Wayne Gacy, aka the Killer Clown, Rape/Murder, Stateville Correctional Center, Illinois, 1994

Olive

Victor Feguer, Murder, Iowa State Penitentiary, Iowa, 1963;
Feguer was the last inmate put to death before the U.S. placed a moratorium on capital punishment in the 1960s.

Pall Mall cigarettes

Eddie Lee Mays, Robbery/Murder, Sing Sing Correctional Facility, New York, 1963

Onion

Jackie Barron Wilson, Rape/Murder, Texas State Penitentiary, Texas, 2006

Co.Design

The Last Meals of Death Row Inmates, Beautifully Recreated [Slideshow]

Call it morbid fascination, but we've always wondered what death-row inmates ate for their last supper. Donuts? KFC? A nice, juicy onion?

All of the above, it turns out. Graphic designer James Reynolds recreated the final food requests of nine American prisoners executed between 1963 and 2006, then photographed the meals — each starkly arranged on an inmate-orange cafeteria tray — in his London studio. He titled the series, appropriately, Last Suppers.

The photos are haunting. Consider the meal for John Wayne Gacy aka the Killer Clown: a bucket of original-recipe Kentucky Fried Chicken (which is extra creepy because Gacy had worked for KFC and abused male employees there). Or the one for Eddie Lee Mays, the last man executed in New York state, who, in an ultimate middle finger to the whole lousy system (we presume), eschewed provisions altogether, instead opting for a pack of Pall Malls. With these pictures, Reynolds has created a final slice of humanity for those condemned as inhumane.

[Images by and courtesy of James Reynolds]

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3 Comments

  • radiowaves

    I agree. From a design point of view these are nice, but they are so wildly inaccurate that in the end they are just photos of food on tray.... withouth the context of last meals, they loose any fascination. Oh, tray with food? <shrug>

    Another particularly bewildering last meal "recreated2 above is that of Gary Gilmore (the tray with 6 eggs a hamburger bun and a coffee), who had as his last meal "steak, potatoes, milk and coffee and a six-pack of beer; he consumed only the milk and coffee". No eggs.</shrug>

  • sheryl

    This would be interesting -- if the recreations were accurate. 

    When you click through to the links, you find, for example, that Jackie Barron Wilson had "a cheeseburger, onion rings, a beef enchilada, tea, Coca-Cola, a whole onion, a whole tomato and lemon pie."  not just Coke, gum and a whole onion. For me, either the project or the reporting on this site loses credibility because of the lack of fact-checking.