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Texas drops special last meal for death row inmates

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:34 AM EDT, Fri September 23, 2011
Lawrence Russell Brewer, who was executed in Texas on Wednesday, ordered a huge last meal but did not eat it.
Lawrence Russell Brewer, who was executed in Texas on Wednesday, ordered a huge last meal but did not eat it.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lawrence Russell Brewer ordered extensive last meal and didn't eat it
  • State senator said allowing such a request was "ridiculous"
  • Chief of criminal justice department orders change to protocol
  • Brewer was executed for the 1998 dragging death of James Byrd Jr.

(CNN) -- The hefty last meal ordered but not eaten by an executed Texas inmate brought a complaint from a state senator and the end Thursday to the practice of special menus.

Sen. John Whitmire, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, wrote Thursday that he opposed the practice of providing a last meal of choice to the condemned.

"It is extremely inappropriate to give a person sentenced to death such a privilege. One which the perpetrator did not provide to their victim," Whitmire wrote.

The Democrat, who represents Houston and parts of north Harris County, said "enough is enough" after Lawrence Russell Brewer ordered two chicken fried steaks smothered in gravy with sliced onions, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, a cheese omelet with other ingredients, a large bowl of fried okra with ketchup, three fajitas, a pint of Blue Bell ice cream and a pound of barbecue with a half-loaf of white bread.

The meal request also included a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts, a pizza and three root beers.

No more death row 'last meals' in Texas

Brewer declined to eat the last meal Wednesday, said Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark.

Whitmire, in asking the state to stop special requests, said he would seek the change by law if necessary.

"I believe Senator Whitmire's concerns regarding the practice of allowing death row offenders to choose their last meal are valid," Brad Livingston, executive director of the Department of Criminal Justice, said in statement released Thursday. "Effective immediately, no such accommodations will be made. They will receive the same meal served to other offenders on the unit."

Brewer, 44, was executed for his involvement in the infamous racially motivated 1998 dragging death of James Byrd Jr.

CNN's Phil Gast contributed to this report.

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