Death row inmates are typically given a last meal before they are executed. The practice was first recorded in 22 B.C., when gladiators would have a large feast before they battled in the arena and faced the possibility of death, per Ranker. Elsewhere, Deborah Denno, a capital punishment expert, states that inmates’ last meals may have a Christian connection that mirrors Jesus’ Last Supper with his 12 apostles before his crucifixion. “It brings us back to the fact that this is a human being who will not be having any more dinners like we do. There’s a drama associated with it. This is the Last Supper. Maybe it has that Christian connotation,” Denno said, via BBC.
Not all prisons give out last meals to death row inmates, but those that do often get the request a few days before the execution date. Per Slate, the most common requests include fried chicken, steak, and ice cream. But there have also been unusual requests, such as a single olive, a cup of coffee, and a bag of Cheez Doodles (via Insider).
Ted Bundy's last meal
Ted Bundy was executed on January 24, 1989, at the Florida State Prison. In the state, per the Florida Department of Corrections, inmates are allowed to request a last meal, but there are restrictions that must be followed. Death row inmates must not be extravagant in their request, and there is a cap of $40 for the entire meal. Another condition is that the food must be purchased locally.
When Bundy was asked what he would like his last meal to be, he did not make any specific requests, 9 News reported. As a result, he was given the default last meal: steak, eggs, hash browns, a piece of toast with butter and jam, juice, and coffee. For whatever reason, though, he didn’t consume the food that was served to him. He was executed early in the morning via the electric chair and was declared dead at 7:16 a.m.
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