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politics - 31 07 2001 - 20:34 - katatonik


”... A month or so before, he and another inmate had taken a guard hostage on death row for several hours, and they finally let her go. And he also was one of the seven who had tried to participate in that escape from death row in 1998; he didn’t make it out.
So he was combative, rebellious; when the time came of his execution, he said he would fight and he did, so they had to use force and extra restraints. And he had told one of the officers, “I have a secret”, but he never said what the secret was. So he’s on the gurney and the sedative starts to take effect and he whispered something, we kind of make out he said, “the secret as of Wilkerson,” and all of a sudden he spit out a handcuff key. I mean, he died with the handcuff key sitting on his lips. It was creepy. It was kind of his last jab at the system; I think he wanted to show he could have gone out if he wanted …”

Michelle Lyons, a twenty-five-year old reporter for the “Huntsville Item”, daily newspaper of Huntsville, Texas, where all state executions take place. There were 248 executions since 1982. The quotation is taken from excerpts of Sylvie Kauffmann’s interview with Lyons, published in the August 9 issue of the New York Review of Books. The full text is not yet online, but will be soon. A French version (original? translation?) of the same interview extracts was published in Here is another, shorter interview with Lyons (in German).

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