Although executed American women often order a decadent fried protein for their last meal, many of them, like Gissendaner, are sure to include vegetables in their diet. Christina Marie Riggs, executed in Arkansas in 2000 for the murder of her two children, feasted on a supreme pizza but also asked for a salad and pickled okra. Teresa Lewis, executed in Virginia in 2010 for murdering her husband and stepson, ate two fried chicken breasts, but didn’t forget to request sweet peas on the side.
Two of the 15 women who have been executed in the last 40 years have even selected meals entirely composed of fruits and veggies. In 1998, Jody Buenoano munched on a light sampling of asparagus, strawberries, broccoli, and tea before taking a seat in a Florida electric chair for poisoning her husband. That same year, Karla Faye Tucker was served a sparse supper of a banana, a peach, and a garden salad before being executed by lethal injection.
Ty Treadwell, co-author of Last Suppers: Famous Final Meals from Death Row, tells The Daily Beast that women’s death row salads come across “almost like a guilty afterthought,” speculating, too, that they can’t help but carry their “years of planning and cooking meals in their own households” to the grave.