Death Row

Thomas Paul West Skips Best Part of Being Executed by the State: The Food

After more than 20 years on Arizona's Death Row, convicted murderer Thomas Paul West was executed this morning at the state prison in Florence. According to prison officials, West didn't have any last words. He also skipped the best part about getting executed: the food.

Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux says West declined his last meal yesterday.

According to the DOC Department Order Manual, jail staff is required to make "every reasonable effort to accommodate the last meal request" of a Death Row inmate. In other words, an inmate preparing to be executed can have just about anything he or she wants -- within reason -- to eat the night before their execution.

While West didn't take full advantage of the perks of his impending demise, other recently executed inmates pigged out before their court-ordered dates with death.

Most notably, kid-killing rapist Donald Beaty.


Beaty was convicted of the 1984 rape and murder of 13-year-old Christy Ann Fornoff.

On May 9, 1984, Fornoff, a newspaper carrier, was collecting money along her paper route at the Rockpoint Apartments in Tempe.

Beaty,a custodian at the apartment complex, abducted the young girl, raped her, and then suffocated her. He kept her dead body in his apartment for two days before leaving it behind a dumpster at the complex.

The night before his execution -- more than 20 years after getting sentenced to death -- Beaty pigged out on a beef chimichanga with salsa and sour cream, a double cheeseburger with onions, tomato, pickles, lettuce, mustard and mayo, and French fries. For desert, Beaty had nearly a pound (14 ounces) of Rocky Road ice cream.

Another kid-killing rapist put to death recently was Richard Bible, also on Death Row for more than 20 years before his execution.

Bible was convicted in the 1988 murder of 9-year-old Jennifer Wilson.

While Wilson was on vacation with her family in Flagstaff, Bible kidnapped her, molested her, and then bludgeoned her to death.

The night before his execution, Bible chowed down on four eggs fried over easy with melted cheese on top, a cup of country gravy with sausage, hash browns and seven biscuits with grape jelly and peanut butter. He washed it all down with a bottle of chocolate milk.

West, like Bible and Beaty, had to wait more than 20 years for the opportunity to mange his favorite foods one last time. While West declined his pig-out, state Attorney General Tom Horne feels 20 years is way too long to keep someone -- namely the victims' families -- waiting for a convicted murderer to eat a last meal before being put to death.

"The current delays in capital cases are unconscionable and unfair to the victim's family and to the citizens of Arizona," Horne says in a statement released following West's execution.

Read more on how nearly 20 percent of Arizona's condemned inmates have spent more than 20 years on Death Row -- on the taxpayer dime -- here.
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James King
Contact: James King