Last written word of J. Winstead
Provided by Nebraska State Penitentiary staff, Lincoln, NE
I’ll be dead in a few hours.
It’s an odd feeling, counting down the final minutes of one’s life, knowing full well what’s coming & being completely powerless to prevent it. For me, there’s no more legal wrangling to endure, no useless pleas for mercy. All I have left after seven years in this hell hole is a borrowed pen, a yellow legal pad, and my thoughts.
I don’t expect a last-minute call from the Governor to spare my life. If I were in his shoes, I’d let me die at the hands of the Great State of Nebraska, too. If you happen to read this, Mr. Nelson, you’re not killing an innocent man tonight—you can rest easy knowing that—but you are killing.
I often wondered—once I resigned myself to the fact there was no hope of avoiding my sentence—how it would feel when they carried it out. I’ve viewed these things before, in person. It’s never pretty, even when it goes off without a hitch. When it doesn’t go according to plan, it’s gruesome. I’ve seen that, too.
I’ll admit, I’m scared.
Some would say I’ve “found God” while in prison, and I suppose that’s somewhat true. It’s a common thing for those who spend their days behind bars. You’d be surprised how many long-term convicts develop a passion for reading the Bible. Crappy timing, but better late than never, right?
When the end comes, some will choose to say something about going home, God forgives, Jesus saves, whatever. There’s no final peace waiting for me, though, no matter what I say.
Have I prayed? Of course I have, but I don’t believe it’ll make a difference. There are some wrongs for which a person can ask forgiveness—and receive it—but there are also crimes that are unforgivable. Even by the Big Man. Even if you beg.