Death row inmate donates special last meal to the homeless and writes to his murdered wife's family seeking forgiveness

Death row inmate donates special last meal to the homeless and writes to his murdered wife's family seeking forgiveness

A Tennessee death row inmate who had murdered his wife has requested that his special last meal be given to a homeless person. He also wrote a letter to his children asking them to forgive him.

The inmate, 68-year-old Donnie Johnson, was sentenced to death for the gruesome murder of his wife Connie Johnson in Memphis. Donnie killed his wife in 1984 when he shoved a 30-gallon garbage bag down her throat when he was 33 years old and she was 30. Donnie has been sentenced to die via lethal injection which will take place on Thursday, May 16, and like inmates on death row in Tennessee, he will get the choice of a special last meal for up to $20. 

Donnie Johnson (Source: Tennessee Department of Corrections)

However, Donnie declined the meal and instead chose to get what all other prisoners receive at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, according to The Tennessean. Public defender Kelley Henry shared that Donnie had asked for a vegetarian pizza to be given to a homeless person instead of him getting a last and final meal. His request was, however, denied. 

As reported by Fox 17, Henry shared, "Mr. Johnson realizes that his $20 allotment will not feed many homeless people. His request is that those who have supported him provide a meal to a homeless person." Recently, religious leaders including the president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church where Donnie is also a member had asked Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to grant Donnie clemency which Lee did not agree to.

Lee shared, "After prayerful and deliberate consideration of Don Johnson‘s request for clemency, and after a thorough review of the case, I am upholding the sentence of the State of Tennessee and will not be intervening." 

In his letter, Donnie wrote to his children as well as to his ex-wife's family asking them to forgive him. He wrote, "I truly regret my life and what I became in the process. I am and will continue to carry the pain of all the grief that I have caused others to endure and that I have hurt so many others. It was the life that I had chosen that lead to the darkest day I had ever experienced and not until I took the responsibility for my wife Connie's death could I receive forgiveness and start on that road to healing." 


Donnie's stepdaughter Cynthia Vaughn, whom he had from a previous marriage, was among the people who had asked Governor Bill Lee to give him clemency. His son Jason, whom he had with Connie, was of the opinion, however, that Donnie should have been executed a long time ago.

Before his wife's murder, he had spoken about divorcing Connie, witnesses had testified in the trial. Donnie had also reportedly said that he had previous divorces and was in a position to be able to afford another one.

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