Death row inmate was given yogurt after extremely odd final meal request was denied

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James Edward Smith’s unusual request for his last meal was denied by Texas prison officials because it wasn’t on the approved list of foods.

Despite spending numerous years behind bars with only prison food to sustain him, one might assume that most death row inmates would have their final meal planned out well in advance. However, Smith’s peculiar dietary request serves as a cautionary tale, as it was so outlandish that prison authorities refused to grant it, leaving him with a pot of plain yogurt instead.

Smith, aged 37, was sentenced to death after being found guilty of fatally shooting Larry Don Rohus during a robbery at an office building in Houston, Texas. On March 7, 1983, Smith entered a Union National Life Insurance Company branch, armed with a gun and wearing a stocking mask. After demanding money, he shot Rohus twice, resulting in his death.

Despite being convicted of capital murder, Smith confessed to six additional ‘ritualistic’ deaths, although these claims were never substantiated. He even waived his final appeals in hopes of expediting his execution process.

Before his initially scheduled execution in 1988, Smith expressed his philosophical view of life and death, likening death to a natural function akin to eating a prune in the morning. He then made an unusual request for his last meal: rhaeakunda dirt, which he intended to consume as part of a voodoo ritual to aid in his reincarnation journey. However, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice rejected this request, as dirt was not an approved food item.

Despite a last-minute stay of execution, Smith’s death sentence was eventually carried out two years later. Once again, he expressed his desire for dirt as his final meal, but this request was once again denied. Instead, his last meal consisted of plain yogurt.

After consuming the yogurt, Smith’s last words were ‘Hare Krishna,’ a Hindu mantra associated with the Bhakti movement that gained popularity in the 15th century.

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