States consider the last meal a way to dignify an execution, experts say, but the tradition has been abused.
ORLANDO, Fla. - On the last day of their lives, Florida murderers Clarence Hill and Angel Nieves Diaz asked for taco fixings.
Tampa rapist Oba Chandler ate two salami sandwiches on white bread and half a peanut-butter-and-grape-jelly sandwich.
Panhandle killer Arthur Rutherford requested fried green tomatoes, fried freshwater catfish, fried eggplant, hush puppies and sweet tea.
The men were part of a tradition that will play out again Nov. 12, when Orange County rapist and killer Darius Kimbrough is scheduled to die by lethal injection.
Most recently, William Happ, who killed a Lauderdale Lakes woman, ordered a 12-ounce box of assorted chocolates and German chocolate ice cream before he was executed.
Last meals are a way to provide humane treatment in a dignified death penalty procedure, said Florida Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jessica Cary.
They also distinguish executions from the criminal slayings the condemned committed, said Daniel LaChance, an assistant professor of history at Emory University who studies capital punishment.
"The last meal is part of the process to demonstrate there is no malice on the part of the people who carry out the execution," said Bob Dekle, who teaches at the University of Florida's Levin College of Law and was the chief prosecutor in the Ted Bundy murder case.