Death row inmate forgoes final meal to feed the homeless

A Tennessee death row inmate has said that he doesn’t want a special last meal before his Thursday execution — instead, he’s asking his supporters to donate meals to the homeless, according to a new report.

Donnie Edward Johnson, 68, who was sentenced for the 1984 suffocation murder of his wife Connie Johnson in Memphis — stuffing a 30-gallon trash bag down her throat — was permitted to spend up to $20 for his last meal at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, according to The Tennessean.

He declined to choose, so he will receive the same meal as the general population at the jail, according to the report. He’ll eat it before his scheduled execution at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Johnson’s decision was a tribute to another inmate, Philip Workman, executed back in 2007, his attorney, federal public defender Kelley Henry, told the paper. Workman had requested that the $20 for his last meal be used for vegetarian pizzas served at a local homeless shelter.

While prison staff declined to send the pizzas, Workman’s supporters did — and Johnson told the outlet he hopes his supporters do the same, according to the report.

“Mr. Johnson realizes that his $20 allotment will not feed many homeless people,” Henry told the outlet in an email. “His request is that those who have supported him provide a meal to a homeless person.”

During his time behind bars, Johnson’s legal team had emphasized that he underwent a religious transformation of sorts — becoming an elder at the Seventh-day Adventist Church and leading prayer services for his fellow inmates, according to the report.

They, along with Connie Johnson’s daughter Cynthia Vaughn — who Donnie had adopted — formed a chorus of voices begging Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee for mercy.

But the governor denied the pleas for clemency on Tuesday.

Johnson would mark the fourth man to be executed in Tennessee since August, the paper reported.

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