The Texas prison system on Thursday abolished the time-honored tradition of offering an opulent last meal to condemned inmates before their executions, saying they would get standard prison fare instead.
"Enough is enough," state Senator John Whitmire wrote on Thursday to prison officials, prompting the move. "It is extremely inappropriate to give a person sentenced to death such a privilege. It's a privilege which the perpetrator did not provide to their victim."
The letter was in apparent response to the dinner requested, but not eaten, by white supremacist Lawrence Brewer before he was put to death on Wednesday night for a notorious 1998 killing in which James Byrd Jr., a black man, was dragged behind a truck for several miles.
Brewer requested an elaborate meal that included a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, a meat-lover's pizza, a big bowl of okra with ketchup, a pound of barbecue, a half a loaf of bread, peanut butter fudge, a pint of ice cream and two chicken-fried steaks.
When it arrived around 4 p.m. at Brewer's cell, he declined it all, telling prison officials he was not hungry.
Whitmire, who chairs the Texas Senate Committee on Criminal Justice, threatened legislation if the prison system did not end the practice, which rarely results in the inmate getting exactly what is requested anyway.
Brad Livingston, executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, replied that Whitmire's concerns were valid and the practice would halt immediately.
The prisoners will be served "the same meal served to other offenders," Livingston's statement said.