Executions · Famous Last Words · Texas

FLW: Punch the button

Famous Last Words
Michael John Yowell
Texas
October 9, 2013

“I love you. To Gerald, you’re a zero. I love you Mandy; Tiffany, I love you, too. Punch the button. We are ready.”

Yowell was executed for the 1998 murders of his parents and grandmother. His father, John Yowell (55), had caught Yowell attempting to steal money from his wallet to buy drugs. (At the time, Yowell had a $200-a-day drug habit.) In response, Yowell shot his father in the head and strangled his mother, Carol (53), with an electrical cord. Panicking, he then opened the natural gas jet in his parents’ kitchen. Viola Davis (89), Yowell’s grandmother, was shut in her room and fatally injured by the explosion and fire resulting from the open gas line; she succumbed to burns and smoke inhalation 12 days later. Yowell confessed two days after the murders of his parents, and attempted a plea of insanity due to his addiction to drugs. The tactic failed and Yowell was convicted following a two-week trial and 45 minutes of deliberation.

Yowell’s last statement was directed in part to his daughters, Mandy and Tiffany. The “Gerald” he mentioned was Gerald Harder, a witness to Yowell’s execution, though it’s unclear why Yowell felt the need to call him “a zero” with his last breaths.

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