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Witness To 300 Executions Describes 'Worst' Last Words She Ever Heard

Witness To 300 Executions Describes 'Worst' Last Words She Ever Heard

Cameron Todd Willingham's last words before the state of Texas executed him are amongst the ones that have stayed with Michelle Lyons

Tom Wood

Tom Wood

A woman who witnessed nearly 300 executions in the state of Texas has revealed that she is still haunted by the final words of a man who killed his children in a shocking arson.

For years, Michelle Lyons witnessed state killings in her roles as a journalist, then on the other side of the divide as the advocate for the state.

At the state prison in Huntsville that housed the execution chamber, Lyons saw the harrowing arbitration of justice as hundreds of criminals were put to death by lethal injection.

However, the final words that she describes as the 'worst' are those of a convicted child killer who used his final moments to directed a chilling tirade towards his ex-wife and the mother of the three daughters he murdered.

Cameron Todd Willingham's final rant was so vulgar that the warden of the prison started out the execution just to shut him up.

Michelle Lyons during her time at The Huntsville Item.
Michelle Lyons

Cameron Todd Willingham.
Texas Department of Corrections

Michelle, who has revealed all in her fascinating memoir Death Row: The Final Minutes, told the Daily Mirror: "His last statement was the worst that I had ever seen. It was vulgar, it was hateful.

"His wife was watching from the witness room and I was told later by the chaplaincy that she had come to witness not on his behalf but as one of the victims.

"He directed so much vitriol towards her that the warden actually started the execution as he was talking to make him stop."

36-year-old Willingham flicked a middle finger at his wife, Stacy Kuykendall, as he was strapped down to the gurney for his execution in 2004.

The Huntsville Unit where the executions take place.
Wikimedia Commons

Michelle's notes say that his final words were: "The only statement I want to make is that I am an innocent man - convicted of a crime I did not commit.

"I have been persecuted for 12 years for something I did not do.

"From God's dust I came and to dust I will return - so the earth shall become my throne.

"I gotta go, road dog. I love you, Gabby."

Then, turning to his wife, who was behind a screen just a few metres away, he said: "I hope you rot in hell, b****. I hope you f***ing rot in hell.

"You b****. I hope you f***ing rot, c***. That is it."

Willingham's three daughters were killed in a fire a few days before Christmas of 1991. One-year-old twins Karmon and Kameron, as well as two-year-old Amber, were killed in the blaze.

Willingham claimed he tried to rescue them, but the police didn't buy that story, as he was relatively unharmed.

He was charged and convicted of capital murder and arson, and sentenced to death.

Testimony from an informer and the fire investigators convicted him, with the prison informant saying Willingham confessed that he'd started the fire to hide the evidence that his daughters had been abused.

Michelle's book 'Death Row: The Final Minutes'.
Michelle Lyons

Despite expert testimony against the arson, and the jailbird informer's retracted confession, he was still sentenced to die.

His body was cremated and his ashes secretly spread on his children's graves by his parents.

Michelle's book Death Row: The Final Minutes, is available now.

Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Texas Department of Corrections

Topics: Texas, Interesting, US News, crime, Murder, Prison