The Texas Department of Criminal Justice recently oversaw a grim milestone: the 500th execution in the state since capital punishment was re-enacted in 1976. The milestone also marked its 500th entry into a public, online database of death row inmates’ last words, which has gone viral since Kimberly McCarthy, who was convicted of murder, became the fourth woman to be executed in Texas on Wednesday.
McCarthy thanked her family members, attorney and chaplain in her last statement: “You know where I am going,” she said. “I am going home to be with Jesus. Keep the faith. I love y’all.”
Many of the hundreds of statements kept in the archives have similar religious undertones. While some of the people on death row relayed apologies to their own families and those of their victims, scores continued to profess their innocence in their final words. Others used the opportunity to express their belief in the injustice of the death penalty. “Murder isn’t right, killing of any kind isn’t right. Got to find another way,” said Beunka Adams, who was executed in 2012 for murder and attempted robbery, kidnapping and sexual assault.
The website serves as a tangible reminder that Texas executes the most prisoners of any state in the union, with almost five times the executions of its runner-up, Virginia.