It used to be my party ice-breaker question: If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you choose as your final meal?
As you might imagine, the question quickly thinned the crowd of people who wanted to hang around me for the evening. But it’s a question that death row inmates have had to consider time and again as an execution date draws closer.
This set of blog posts takes a look at their fascinating choices and speculates about the reasons surrounding those choices.
First up is Victor Feguer. Executed by hanging on March 15, 1963 in Iowa, Feguer’s last meal request was a single olive. With the pit. He tucked the pit into the pocket of his suit the morning of his execution. I could find no information on the significance of the olive to Feguer.
Diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, Feguer had a long history of mental illness culminating in the kidnapping and murder of Dr Edward Bartels. The motive for the murder is unclear; it seems Feguer randomly selected Bartels name and number from a phone book. He lured Bartels to his apartment on a house call with a story about a wife in pain after a recent surgery. In fact, Feguer had no wife.
There are theories that Feguer simply wanted to get morphine or Demerol from the doctor, but whatever his motivation, it ended in the death of Bartels, a father of three and with his wife expecting a fourth child.
Captured when trying to sell Bartel’s 1959 Rambler, Feguel revealed the location of the doctor’s body but pinned the crime on a fictional “Alex Dupree”.
After Feguel’s death it would be 38 years before the next federal execution in Iowa – Timothy McVeigh.