Texas death row inmate's last words draw ire from lawmaker

Texas death row inmate's last words draw ire from lawmaker

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A Texas lawmaker who pushed to stop letting death row inmates choose their last meals now wants the nation's busiest execution chamber to cease reading their final words.

Democratic Sen. John Whitmire on Monday called it "totally improper" that a prison spokesman last week read the final words of an avowed racist who orchestrated one of the most gruesome hate crimes in U.S. history.

John William King, who was white, was executed last week for the 1998 dragging death of James Byrd Jr., a black man. King declined to speak any last words but a statement written by him was released after his execution.

A Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman didn't immediately comment.

Texas stopped letting condemned inmates choose finals meals in 2011 after the same senator became miffed over one expansive request.

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