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How would you spend last hours of life?



Published: Sat, August 22, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

By The Vindicator

COLUMBUS — How would you spend the last 24 hours of your life?

What would you eat? Who would you talk to? Which of your personal belongings would you want nearby?

Four Ohioans — all convicted murderers — have had to make those decisions this year, and seven more are scheduled to do so between now and February.

The day or so they spend at the death house at the Ohio State Correctional Facility near Lucasville is meticulously recorded in message board reports — minute-by-minute logs describing inmates’ actions and state of mind.

There are a lot of similarities in the inmates’ pre-execution activities: They visit with friends and family, make phone calls and pace around their cells. They often turn down breakfast and forgo sleep.

Here’s how the last four prisoners executed in Ohio spent their final day:

Daniel Wilson: Wilson arrived at the death house at 9:49 a.m. on June 2. In addition to the standard prison-issue clothing, he kept a personal Bible, a religious book and necklace and a notebook.

He drank two cups of Dr. Pepper at 10:58, read his Bible and drank more Dr. Pepper at 11:44 and talked to execution team members “about old times” at 11:46. He downed a couple of antacid pills at 12:30 p.m., then drank more Dr. Pepper at 12:47 and again at 4:21.

He started eating his special meal around 4:10 p.m. At 5:41 p.m., he asked for something to help with his upset stomach. He was awake much of the night, making phone calls and watching television. He declined breakfast.

At 8:21, Wilson put his personal belongings into a large paper bag. He said a prayer with the prison chaplain at 8:57. His final statement took about 17 seconds.

John Fautenberry: Fautenberry arrived at the death house on July 13 at 9:53 a.m. on July 13. He kept a rosary, a Bible, some religious pamphlets and writing paper in the cell.

At 10:46, he watched some television. At 10:54, he drank a cup of water, and at 11:49 he read from the Bible.

At 12:28 p.m. he ate lunch: fruit cocktail, cole slaw, two hot dogs, two slices of bread, potatoes, green beans and grape juice.

Fautenberry’s special meal arrived at 4 p.m., and he finished most of it off within a half an hour. He took communion, slept from 12:33-6:12 a.m., then ate breakfast at 6:56.

He participated in a morning mass at 8:07. At 9:45 he turned on a radio to listen to some music. He made no final statement.

Marvallous Keene: Keene arrived at the death house on July 20 at 9:51 a.m. He had a cup of coffee at 9:54, and he began watching television at 11:03.

After his evening visits and special meal, he spent much of the night — from 11:08 p.m. until 5:21 a.m. — watching television, taking a break at 2:48 to eat some grapes, two plums and a mango.

Keene skipped breakfast. He was laughing and joking with legal counsel during morning visits, then turned somber and emotional at 8:23. His final statement lasted eight seconds.

Jason Getsy: Getsy arrived at the death house on Aug. 17 at 9:42 a.m. He was given a honey bun, a banana and some apple juice at 10:55.

Getsy spent the day writing letters, reading the Bible and making phone calls. His special meal arrived at 4:01, and he finished most of it by 4:27.

During the evening, he wrote more letters and read the Bible. He slept from 2:01-5:32 a.m., then skipped breakfast.

At 9:30, Getsy shook the hands of the execution team leader and thanked the team for the “kindness he has been shown.”

His final statement lasted one minute, 11 seconds.

X Marc Kovac is The Vindicator’s Statehouse correspondent. E-mail him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at Ohio Capital Blog.


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