Even the hardest criminal has been known to quake when led to America's notorious electric chairs. But asked what his last words were moments before he was blasted with 1,800 volts of electricity, Robert Gleason Jr used the opportunity to request his executioners to "kiss my ***". Thinking, perhaps, that such profanity in the face of death might not set a good example, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Corrections, as the US euphemistically terms its prisons, last week said that Gleason had added, "Put me on the highway going to Jackson and call my Irish buddies... God bless," before the executioners commenced their gruesome duty.
Moments before, the Daily Mail reports, the 42-year-old double murderer, the first to be executed in the US this year, was seen occasionally smiling, winking and nodding at his "spiritual adviser" who sat in the witness area. The spiritual adviser, Tim "Bam Bam" Spradling, having determined it was Gleason's way of signalling that he was ready to die, the executioners commenced the procedure. Gleason's eccentric choice of last words was by no means unique in the annals of America's Death Chamber. Asked what his last words were before he was dispatched last year, Robert Towery inscrutably replied, "Potato, potato, potato." Thomas Appel, strapped to the electric chair in 1928, seized the opportunity to make a last joke: "Well, gentleman, you are about to see a baked Appel." Edward Rulloff also had food on his mind when he was being executed. Asked for his last words, he replied impatiently, "I'd like to be in hell in time for dinner."