Robert C. Gleason Jr. was the last man to be executed by electric chair in America. He was executed in January 2013 by the state of Virginia.
Gleason chose that method rather than lethal injection after he was convicted of three separate murders, including strangling two fellow inmates and the homicide that landed him in prison to begin with.
Gleason had learned Irish culture and history while in prison and used the language in his last few moments on earth.
When asked if he had any final words Gleason stated “Put me on the highway to Jackson and call my Irish buddies. Pog mo thoin. God bless,” he said.
The translation of the Irish wording is “kiss my a--.”
Amy Taylor, the mother of one of Gleason’s children, said she will miss him.
“He will always be remembered by those who truly knew him as a very fun, loving, compassionate person who cared more for those he loved than he ever did for himself,” she said.
His horrific strangling and murder record, however, says otherwise.
In those last hours, Gleason cried for his victims and asked God for forgiveness, he added.
No one seems to know the real reason Gleason demanded execution. In court, he said it was to teach younger relatives that murder comes with severe consequences.
Yet, a case worker’s report from 2011 suggests that Gleason had a mental history filled with feelings of paranoia, anxiety and depression, ultimately leading to exhaustion and a need to escape. Life in prison, according to the report, would simply be too intolerable.
Initially, Gleason earned life in prison without parole for shooting to death truck driver Michael Kent Jamerson on May 8, 2007, to cover up the tracks of a methamphetamine ring already eyed by federal investigators.
Gleason, during his 2011 sentencing hearing, said they had stopped by a wooded area in Amherst County and he pulled a pistol from Jamerson’s own belt, told him to get right with God, and began shooting.
A turkey hunter found Jamerson’s body the next day. A Liberty University student fishing along the bank of the James River, about three miles from the body, found the gun several days later.
Two years later, Gleason ended up in a cell with 63-year-old Harvey Gray Watson Jr. at Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone Gap. Watson was serving a 100-year sentence for killing a man and wounding two others when he fired a shotgun into his neighbor’s Lynchburg home in 1983.
The older inmate was mentally impaired and known for such antics as singing nonsensical tunes throughout the night and drinking his own urine. Gleason tired of him after about a week and tied him up, beat and strangled him on May 8, 2009 – the two-year anniversary of Jamerson’s murder.
Guards didn’t notice the body in the cell for 15 hours.
Soon after that, Gleason threatened to kill again unless given the death penalty.
Then, on July 28, 2010, he strangled convicted carjacker Aaron Alexander Cooper, 26, in the recreation yard of the supermax security Red Onion State Prison near Pound.
It was done with ripped apart strips of braided bed sheet threaded through the chain link fence separating the two inmates.