Scott Wisneski Composition II Professor Schweitzer February 18, 2011 The Jury is Out: Most Death Row Inmates Unrepentant On October 21, 2010, Larry Wooten, convicted in 1998 of robbing and brutally murdering an elderly couple, issued this last statement before his execution by lethal injection: “No sir. Warden, Since I don't have nothing to say, you can go ahead and send me to my Heavenly Father.” [here is a big decision you’d have to make if you were really going to be writing this essay: how are you going to cite these last statements; usually, when writers are going to using the same source over and over again, they create a “shorthand” citation that they explain in full in an endnote; think about how you might do that] Wooten is not alone among the 464 death row inmates executed in Texas between 1982 and 2010 who have expressed no remorse for their victims in their last words. In fact, the overwhelming majority of executed offenders appear to remain unapologetic of their crimes to the very end. In the process of researching this topic, a wide variety of criteria were used in an attempt to classify the last words of death row inmates as remorseful or unremorseful. Statements expressing remorse were divided between remorse for the victims or the victim’s family, and remorse of the convicts for themselves. Religious statements were dissected to ascertain whether the convict was invoking a deity to ask for forgiveness for one’s crimes or for self-serving reasons, such as admittance into heaven. References to a faulty legal system were also inspected, as some convicts’ last words were used to implicate themselves in other crimes, or to exonerate others. Final goodbyes were scrutinized for remorse and well—wishing to the victims’ families who may have been present at the execution. Finally, remorseless last statements expressing things [avoid: boring and vague word] such as anger, defiance, apathy, and blaming others were tallied as well. Comments: Excellent intro to a research essay, expressing clear both the thesis and the methodology. I like beginning with a quote, but I think you could have found a more interesting example of an unrepentant inmate. Grade: 98.
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