I sent one boy to the gas chamber at Huntsville. One and only one. My arrest and my testimony. I went up there and visited with him two or three times. Three times. The last time was the day of his execution. I didn’t have to go but I did. I sure didn’t want to. He’d killed a fourteen year old girl and I can tell you right now I never did have no great desire to visit with him let alone go to his execution but I done it.
The papers said it was a crime of passion and he told me there wasn’t no passion to it. He’d been datin’ this girl, young as she was. He was nineteen. And he told me that he had been plannin’ to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he’d do it again. Said he knew he was goin’ to hell. Told it to me out of his own mouth. I don’t know what to make of that. I surely don’t. I thought I’d never seen a person like that and it got me to wonderin’ if maybe he was some new kind. I watched them strap him into the seat and shut the door. He might of looked a bit nervous about it but that was about all. I really believe that he knew he was goin’ to be in hell in fifteen minutes. I believe that. And I’ve thought about that a lot. He was not hard to talk to. Called me Sheriff.
But I didn’t know what to say to him. What do you say to a man that by his own admission has no soul? Why would you say anything? I’ve thought about it a good deal. But he wasn’t nothin’ compared to what was comin’ down the pike.