Professor Michael Mears Quoted by AJC’s Bill Torpy About Last Meals on Death Row

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Professor Michael Mears was quoted by Bill Torpy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in his recent column that discussed the last meal of death row inmate, Kelly Renee Gissendaner, as well as the history of the last meal ritual. Just last month, Mears also appeared on GPB Radio to discuss Georgia’s death penalty law and the execution of mentally disabled persons.

The column,  A double voyeur, with macabre on the side, quotes:

Georgia defense attorney Mike Mears said some prisoners order as much as they can to jerk around the system. “It’s their last act of defiance.”

“Others order food that had good memories with families,” said Mears, who has been involved with 167 death penalty cases and had six clients die. “It’s probably the last pleasure they will ever experience.”

Many of the meals, Mears said, come from a truck stop near Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson. Comfort food is the norm. Most on death row don’t have much experience with fancy foods. Treadwell said double burgers seem to be far and away the choice of the doomed.

But, Mears said, it wasn’t always just the prisoners digging in.

In the 198os, Mears discovered that the Corrections Department produced a spread for those involved in the execution. One inventory included of 10 pounds of Turkey Ham, 20 pounds of Turkey Pastrami, 10 pounds of Turkey Salami, and 225 pounds of chicken. The menu also included pounds of pimento cheese, trays of hors d’oeuvres and cheese straws.

“The prisoner gets it before the execution,” Mears said. “The guards get it after.”

You may read the full column online here.