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The Last Words of Famous Killers

Hayden Katz History /

Choosing the last words one will ever speak, can't be easy. And for some criminals on death row, they are given the chance to express their final thoughts. Some inmates decide to apologize, while others crack a joke. Here's a list of infamous criminals' eerie last words.

Thomas Grasso

After confessing his crimes to authorities, Thomas Grasso was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to the death penalty. He had killed two elderly women, one in New York and the other in Tulsa.

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Before he was executed on March 20, 1995, Grasso asked for one thing. He wanted to enjoy a bowl of SpaghettiOs for his last meal. But unfortunately, that is not what he was given, which may explain his last words. "I did not get my SpaghettiOs. I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this."

Ángel Maturino Reséndiz

Ángel Maturino Reséndiz would travel across the country riding trains. He would hop off at any stop, murder an innocent individual, and continue on his route. This method of killing made him known as "The Railroad Killer" or "The Railway Killer." During his spree, Reséndiz took the lives of 23 people.

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"The Railway Killer" was active between the years 1986-1999. He managed to commit his awful crimes in a large-ranging area. He murdered in Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Illinois, Georgia, and even in some areas of Mexico. "I deserve what I am getting," were his last words before his execution was carried out at age 46.

James French

Believe it or not, James French asked the judge for the death penalty. Instead, French was given life in prison, in 1958, because he posed as a hitchhiker and murdered the man who picked him up in West Virginia. While in prison, he and his roommate, Eddie Lee Shelton, became rivals. French ultimately decided to kill Shelton.

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The horrendous act finally got the murderer what he wanted: to be executed. He became the last person in Oklahoma to be sentenced to death. It seemed like French found some enjoyment from his impending death by electric chair. His final sentence was, "How's this for a headline? French Fries."

William Bonin

Even though William Bonin was found guilty for the death of 21 adolescent boys, it was presumed that he might have also had 15 other unknown victims. Bonin tragically abandoned the young men on the roads in California between 1982-1983, so he became known as the "The Freeway Killer"

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Based on the choice for his final words, it sounded like Bonin might have regretted his life decisions. And he used his opportunity to give others advice. "I would suggest that when a person has thought of doing anything serious against the law, that before they did they should go to a quiet place and think about it seriously."

Aileen Wuornos

From 1989 to 1990, Aileen Wuornos went on a killing spree in Florida. Wuornos took the lives of 7 innocent men, but she continuously insisted it was an act of self-defense. However, she was found guilty and was given the death penalty for her crimes. Wuornos became known as one of history's infamous women serial killers.

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In 2002, Wuornos was executed, her last words were, "I’d just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6. Like the movie, big mother ship and all, I’ll be back." She wasn't necessarily wrong, in 2003, she was the inspiration for the movie Monsters, which won an Academy Award.

Gary Gilmore

Another serial killer that requested the death sentence. In 1976, Gary Gilmore was convicted for murdering two victims in Utah. He made headlines as the first person in the US to receive the death penalty in 10 years. But that wasn't all he was famous for, his last words became arguably, one of the most well-known mantras.

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Right before he was executed, in 1977, Gilmore voiced his infamous last words, "Let's do it!" Sound familiar? This line is what influenced the shoe brand, Nike, to create their catchphrase, "Just do it!" Gilmore then added, "Dominus vobiscum" which translated to, "The Lord be with you" in Latin.

Clarence Ray Allen

In 1974, Clarence Ray Allen managed to make his punishment even worse while he was on trial for killing Mary Sue Kitts. Allen was caught planning the murder of 3 witnesses that testified against him. The added charges got him sentenced to the death penalty.

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At the time, the murderer was at the age of 77 and was the second-oldest convict to be put to death by execution. Rather than speaking his final words out loud, his were written, "My last words will be, Hoka Hey, it’s a good day to die. Thank you very much, I love you all. Goodbye."

Patrick Bryan Knight

Patrick Bryant Knight might have come the closest to cracking a joke during his final words. (Although it wasn't necessarily funny). The 39-year old was given the death penalty after he was found guilty of brutally murdering his neighbors. His crime took place in 1991 and his victims were Walter and Mary Ann Werner.

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The criminal got to enjoy a big last meal before his shocking final phrase. "I said I was going to tell a joke. Death has set me free. That’s the biggest joke. I deserve this," Knight said, "The other joke is that I am not Patrick Bryan Knight and y’all can’t stop this execution now. Go ahead, I’m finished."

Steven Timothy Judy

Could you believe Steven Timothy Judy was only 24 years old when he was given the extreme penalty of death? Judy was sentenced with this punishment for his 1979 crime, where he tragically took the lives of Terry Lee Chasteen and her 3 kids. The criminal was just 13 when he first tried to kill.

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Indiana Department of Corrections

Judy only made matters worse, when he claimed that he was going to commit a murderous act once more. This caused the jury and judge on his trial to be frightened, so he was penalized with the death penalty. His final words were, "I don't hold any grudges. This is my doing. Sorry it happened."

Jimmy Glass

Jimmy Glass was a murderer who gained fame when his case reached the US Supreme Court. He argued that execution by electrocution was a violation of rights. Nevertheless, 25-year-old Glass did not win Glass v. Lousiana. His punishment, death by electric chair was performed in 1987.

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Before the major case, Glass was already in prison for a different crime. But in 1982, he and another inmate, Jimmy Wingo, ran away and ended up murdering two innocent victims, Newt and Erlene Nealy Brown. This is the incident that ultimately left him saying his interesting last words, "I'd rather be fishing."

Kimberly McCarthy

Kimberly McCarthy went to rob her 71-year-old neighbor, but it turned into homicide. After using her victim's credit cards to buy illegal substances, police arrested her for the crime. During McCarthy's trial, it was speculated that she was responsible for two other death's. But, she was only charged for murdering the neighbor.

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McCarthy was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Her execution took place on June 23, 2016. The death row inmates' last words were, "This is not a loss, this is a win. You know where I am going. I am going home to be with Jesus. Keep the faith. I love y’all."

Carl Panzram

A ruthless killer, Carl Panzram, had spent the majority of his life committing crimes. He confessed that at age 11 he committed arson, and he continued down that path. After an 8 year-long spree of horrendous acts, Panzram was caught. He disclosed the deaths of 3 boys and was sentenced to 25 years.

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During his time in jail, Panzram murdered a prison foreman, Robert Warnke. He was then given the death penalty. Before his execution, he wrote down a confession, sharing he had killed at least 21 innocent individuals. And out loud, he spoke, "Hurry it up, I could kill a dozen men while you're screwing around."

Kenneth McDuff

Kenneth McDuff was a serial killer nicknamed, "The Broomstick Murderer." In 1966, he abducted and murdered 3 teenagers, the the horrific crime got him sent to prison. After many years locked up, he was given parole. Unfortunately, McDuff resumed his spree, until he was caught again in 1992.

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Six people tragically lost their lives while McDuff spent time outside of prison walls. In 1998 he was set to be punished by death. It seemed like he was prepared for what was to come, the last thing he said was, "I am ready to be released. Release me."

John Wayne Gacy

Also referred to as "Killer Clown," John Wayne Gacy was arguably known as one of the most gruesome criminals in America. Gacy would commit murders while wearing a creepy clown outfit which he named "Pogo the Clown." He was convicted for taking the lives of 33 innocent boys, 26 of the victims of which were found in his house.

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In 1994 Gacy's punishment of execution took place, after spending 14 years locked up in prison. The nightmarish convict passed away in Illinois from a lethal injection. The last words the diagnosed psychopath ever spoke was, "Kiss my [expletive]."

Karla Faye Tucker

The execution case of Karla Faye Tucker got recognized by many high status individuals. Including a Speaker of the US House of Representatives, an Italian Prime Minister, and even the Pope! They believed that Tucker wasn't deserving of the death penalty. She had murdered two people after attempting to steal from them.

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Tucker still ended up being charged with the crimes. During her 14 years in prison, she married the pastor after she focused her attention on Christianity. The 38-year old was executed in 1983. Her final words were directed to the people she cherished, "I will see you all when you get there. I will wait for you."

Jeffrey Dahmer

A name that will arguably always come up when speaking about infamous murderers is Jeffrey Dahmer. Between the years 1978 and 1991 he was on a gruesome killing spree. That led to the deaths of 17 males. His crimes earned him the label "Milwaukee Monster."

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Although Dahmer was serving life in prison, he never got the death sentence. But it seems like a fellow prisoner disagreed with the ruling, and he singlehandedly took Dahmer's life. The attacker claims the last thing he said was, "I don't care if I live or die. Go ahead and kill me."

Robert Charles Towery

A crime of burglary turned into a crime of murder. Robert Charles Towery planned on stealing from Mark Jones on Sept 4, 1991. But Towery ended up killing Jones at his Arizona house. Towery's criminal behavior was condemned with the punishment of the death penalty.

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Clark County Prosecutor

During his execution by lethal injection, Towery wept and seemed remorseful. His last words were, "I love my family, potato, potato, potato." Because supposedly 'potato' mimics the sound of a Harley-Davidson bike and that was his way of soothing his nephew during his final moments.

Ted Bundy

One of America's notorious serial killers was Ted Bundy. He had spent the 70's on a horrid killing spree, that sent the country into a frenzy. It was never really known the exact number of victims Bundy had, but some have speculated it could be over 100. He admitted before his death in 1989, that he killed at least 30 women.

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Nearing his execution, the ruthless murderer decided to corporate with FBI agents, to answer questions for future research. Before his life was taken away, Bundy said, "Jim and Fred [Bundy's lawyers], I'd like you to give my love to my family and friends."

Carroll Cole

Carroll Cole began his criminal career when he was just a little boy. But as an adult, his crimes escalated. Between 1948 and 1980, Cole went on a horrible killing spree, that took the lives of 16 people, one of whom was his own wife. But, Cole was only ever convicted for 5 of the murders.

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The ruling on his case sentenced him to death by lethal injection. Cole was imprisoned for a total of 5 years before his punishment of execution took place, in 1985. Based on the killers' final words, "It's all right," it seemed like Cole had accepted his faith.

Amelia Dyer

Amelia Dyer might have created the most horrifying company. In Victorian England, new moms gave their infants to Dyer, who claimed to be "baby farming." Meaning she took care of the baby's in exchange for cash. But it turned out to be a frightful scheme. It's been speculated that Dyer took the lives of 400 kids.

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She was able to continue her awful ploy for 30 years before she was finally apprehended. In 1896, she was put to death, after a thrilling trial. Before being executed she was asked to say something, Dyer responded with her final sentence, "I have nothing to say."

Timothy McVeigh

Timothy McVeigh was responsible for the deaths of 168 people. He organized a domestic terrorist attack, he had bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The destructive deed caused 680 individuals to become wounded. Before the 9/11 attacks, this was the deadliest terrorist act in American history.

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McVeigh was found guilty and he was ruled to be put to death by lethal injections. He only spent 4 years in prison before his execution took place in 2001. He refused to say any last words. But the last thing he wrote was in a poem, "Invictus,' that he finished with, "I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul."

 Donald Henry Gaskins

Also known as "The Hitchhiker Killer," was serial killer Donald Henry Gaskins. He mainly murdered people he had picked up along the side of the roads. As well as anyone he felt had deceived or "wronged" him. He spent 10 years murdering before being caught.

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Gaskins was convicted with nine life sentences. While in prison, he murdered another inmate, resulting in his death sentence. He confessed to having 110 victims before being executed, and then spoke his last words, "I'll let my lawyers talk for me. I'm ready to go."

Jack Jones Jr.

In 1995, Jack Jones Jr. went to talk to 34-year old Mary Philips and her 11-year old daughter, Lacy. Jones announced that he was "going to have to rob them." But instead, he attacked the two. As officers were investigating the crime scene, they noticed that Lacy was still alive, but unfortunately, her mother was not.

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Jones was convicted for the murder, and his execution took place in 2017. His final words were meant for Lacy, "I hope over time you can learn who I really am, and I am not a monster. There was a reason why those things happened that day. I am so sorry, Lacy, try to understand I love you like a child."

Peter Manuel

Law enforcement officers nicknamed Peter Manual "The Beast of Birkenshaw." He was on an awful 2 year-long killing spree between 1956 and 1958. Manual was responsible for murdering 8 individuals all around Southern Scotland. But Only 7 of them were admissible in court, and he was sentenced to execution.

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The gruesome criminal was the third to last convict in Scotland to ever be put to death. He was named one of the country's most prolific serial killers. Seemed like he might have enjoyed music for his last remaining moments, as his last words were, "Turn up the radio and I'll go quietly."

George Bernard Harris

The reason George Bernard Harris killed his friend may be surprising. After Harris came into some money from winning a card game, he got himself some firearms. He decided to give his new purchase to a friend for protection, but things turned dark when Harris found out his friend had misplaced his equipment.

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Clark County Prosecutor

Harris was arrested and charged with murdering his buddy. In 1990, it was ruled that he would be given the death penalty. Harris rejected this sentencing, but his efforts to stop his punishment were unsuccessful. His last words were ruthless, "Somebody needs to kill my trial attorney."

Albert Fish

During his lifetime, Albert Fish performed appalling crimes. At one point he insinuated that he had taken the lives of at least 100 people, saying he "had children in every state." But, Fish only officially confessed to murdering 3 people, for which he was sentenced to be executed.

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Fish's death took place on January 16, 1936. The last thing that the serial killer ever said was, "I don't even know why I'm here." Well, maybe the film The Gray Man could explain why he was there, as the movie was influenced by Fish's criminal history.

Gary Burris

When cab driver, Kenneth Chambers allowed Gary Burris to enter his car, he had no idea that it was going to be his last customer ever. Burris brutally murdered his innocent cab driver. He left Chambers close by to the Fall Creek Parkway in Indianapolis.

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Indiana State Prison

Thankfully for the taxi records, police were able to track down the killer, because he would be listed as Chambers' last rider. Burris was apprehended for theft and homicide. And his final words before his capital punishment took place were, "Beam me up!"

George Engel

George Engel took the lives of 7 policemen and 4 demonstrates who were all at a protest fighting for 8-hour workdays. And even though Engel wasn't physically at the 1886 protest, he attacked the civilians by planning the bombing that took place that day.

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Engel was found guilty of conspiracy and was given the death penalty for organizing the terrible crime at the Haymarket riot. He was executed in 1887, he chose his final words carefully, "Hurrah for anarchy! This is the happiest moment of my life."

H.H. Holmes

H.H. Holmes arguably designed one of the most heinous methods of killing. He had built what was disguised as a hotel for tourists traveling to visit the 1893 Worlds fair in Chicago. But, once guests arrived at the building, they realized it wasn't what they expected.

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Holmes built secret torture rooms and chutes that took his victims into the basement. He was convicted and sentenced to death for his crimes. His last words were, "Take your time, don't bungle it." The book The Devil In The White Chit: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, was influenced by Holmes's crimes.

Jeffrey Matthews

In 1994, Jeffrey Matthews attempted to rob his great uncle, Otis Earl Short. But, Matthews ended up murdering the 77-year old. He got the the death penalty after being found guilty of homicide. Matthews was given different execution dates before it officially took place.

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Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The killer was executed on January 11, 2011, and he had many people in the audience. Matthews' fellow inmates were very fond of him and all stood in unity to support their friend. Since his punishment had been delayed numerous times, his last words were, "I think the governor's phone broke, he hasn't called yet."