RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Just before the Commonwealth of Virginia electrocuted 42-year-old Robert Charles Gleason, Jr. Wednesday night, the three-time murderer’s last words were “kiss my ass” in Gaelic and then “God Bless.”
Among the 16,000-some executions in this nation’s history, his was among the many unrepentant and defiant exit statements.
And it wasn’t original.
“Kiss my ass” was also the final statement of extreme serial killer John Wayne Gacy Jr., an amateur clown who sexually assaulted and murdered at least 33 boys and young men during the 1970s. He was executed in Illinois, one of the most reviled humans in history.
Virginia, with the second highest rate of executions in the land in modern history, has heard a wide variety of final statements.
“Tell my family and friends I love them. Tell the governor he just lost my vote. Y’all hurry this along. I’m dying to get out of here,” said robber and murderer Christopher Scott Emmett, executed here in 2008.
“Today is a good day to die,” began the final statement of contract murderer Mario Benjamin Murphy, executed in Virginia in 1997. “I forgive all of you. I hope God does, too.”
Linwood Briley, among the worst serial killers in Richmond history, simply said “I am innocent” before he was executed in the old state pen in Richmond in 1984.
Not long before his execution, Briley, his brother James and Lem Tuggle led a bold death row escape, the only in state history. When Tuggle was executed on December 12, 1996, his final words were a cheery and loud “Merry Christmas!”
Beltway Sniper John Allen Muhammad said not one word when he was killed by lethal injection here in 2009.
Teresa Lewis, the first woman executed in Virginia since 1912, apologized to her victim’s daughter just before she died by lethal injection in 2010. Lewis had hired someone to kill her husband and stepson. “I want Kathy to know I love her and I’m very sorry.”
Gleason, the unrepentant “kiss my ass” killer, fought hard to be executed, choosing electrocution over lethal injection. He began his final statement with: “Can they hear me out there? Well, I hope Percy ain’t going to wet the sponge. Put me on the highway going to Jackson and call my Irish buddies.”