Two requests at the opposite ends of the food pyramid

Our first example is indeed a conundrum. Victor Harry Feguer traveled from Michigan to Iowa in the spring of 1960, then started calling physicians alphabetically using the Yellow Pages.

Dr. Edward Bartels was the unfortunate soul who answered the call, and in an attempt to steal any drugs he could off the doctor, Feguer shot Bartels in the head and drove his body all the way to Illinois. He then dumped it in a cornfield.

After repeated appeals, guards say Feguer was a model inmate in his final ten days. He requested the oddest meal of all: a single olive, pitted. He is said to have told guards that he wanted an olive tree to grow from his grave as a symbol of peace.

After he was hung on March 15, 1963, guards found the olive pit in his pocket.

Since that meal was far more head-scratching than satisfying, consider the meal of Steven Michael Woods Jr. Woods was more of a victim than a criminal, as he was sentenced to death in the state of Texas for his role in the murder of a drug dealer and the drug dealer’s wife.

The thing is, his co-conspirator, Marcus Rhodes, was not only the man who pulled the trigger, but he also plead guilty to the murders.

Victor Feguer requested a single olive pitted for his last meal
Photo by Henry Hargreaves, as part of his “No Seconds” exhibition, exploring the last meals of death row inmates.

The state of Texas had a “law of parties” that effectively enabled prosecutors to treat a co-conspirator in the same way as the offender. In 2002, Rhodes received a life sentence, while Woods was somehow sentenced to death.

Amnesty International appealed and failed to get the execution stayed, but at least Woods had an epic last meal prior to his execution on Sept. 13, 2001. Woods had:

2 Mountain Dews; 2 Pepsis; 2 Root Beers; 2 sweet teas; 12 garlic sticks with marinara on the side; 2 pounds of bacon; 1 large four-meat pizza; 4 fried chicken breasts; 5 chicken fried steaks; 2 hamburgers with bacon; French fries; 2 pints of ice cream.

Serial killers don’t want cereal

For the most notorious, their meals were both amazing and weird. The first is John Wayne Gacy, a.k.a. “Pogo” the clown, who was responsible for the kidnapping, rape, torture, and murder of at least 33-young men and boys, most of whom were found buried in the crawl space of his house.

Gacy spent 14 years appealing his death sentence, yet was a sad clown when the date of his execution finally came on May 10, 1994. 

The previous day, Gacy was granted a picnic with his family on the prison grounds, where they shared 12 fried shrimp, french fries, a pound of strawberries, Diet Coke, and a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).

Interestingly enough, Gacy had previously been a manager at KFC, and while he wasn’t fried for his execution, he did receive a lethal injection after uttering his final words: “Kiss my ass.”

John Wayne Gacy had a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, a pound of strawberries, Diet Coke, and french fries for his final meal
Right: Photo by Henry Hargreaves, as part of his “No Seconds” exhibition, exploring the last meals of death row inmates. Left: Photo via Getty Images – John Wayne Gacy, aged 37, Dec. 22, 1978.

Ted Bundy didn’t go out willingly either, but neither did any of his victims. Bundy was quite possibly the most manipulative, as he used his charm and good looks to lure his victims to their demise.

He killed at least 30 women in five states and even engaged in necrophilia (experts believe that number to be higher). 

Bundy appealed his death sentence and threatened suicide on a number of occasions prior to his execution on Jan. 24, 1989.

He wasn’t even interested in food in the end and declined a special request. Therefore, the state of Florida provided him their standard last meal, which was a medium-rare steak, eggs over easy, hash browns, toast, milk, and juice.

Evidently, Bundy wasn’t lying about being nervous, as he didn’t even take a bite.

One final head-scratcher: Ricky Ray Rector

Bundy was a unique case, but perhaps the most perplexing was a murderer in Arkansas named Ricky Ray Rector. Rector murdered one man at a nightclub, went on the run, and when he agreed to surrender, he shot the police officer who negotiated the truce.

This all happened in his mother’s house, and, after subsequently going on the run, Rector put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

Rector failed to kill himself but he did effectively give himself a lobotomy. When he died by lethal injection on Jan. 24, 1992, his execution was attended by then-President Bill Clinton.

That wasn’t even the most interesting part, as he requested a steak, fried chicken, cherry Kool-aid, and pecan pie for his last meal. 

He ate everything but the pie, then turned to guards and told them that he was “saving it for later.”

They must’ve believed him, as no one touched it until after Rector was pronounced dead.

A deeper dive: Related reading from the 101