Warden Serves Chex Party Mix For Lethal Injections

Warden Brian Lammer's Menu Selections Raise Constitutional Questions

Condemned prisoner Daniel Lewis Lee fretted away his final hours, strapped helplessly to a gurney, while Warden Brian Lammer readied a third round of Chex party mix to serve us, Lee's fellow prisoners in the Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) Terre Haute, Indiana.

Subtlety was never Warden Lammer's strong suit, perhaps. The party mix first appeared the Monday afternoon Lee was scheduled to die. Multiple federal judges ordered and upheld stays that pushed it back.

Then, around 2:00 A.M. Tuesday, The Supreme Court issued a rare overnight decision 5-4 to force Lee's death.

Virtually as soon as the highest court handed down its unsigned order, according to The Tribune Star, the penitentiary's restraint team, known more simply behind bars as the team, entered Lee's cell, strip searched him, changed his clothes, and shackled him. For the uninitiated, the team wears riot gear and often bursts in like a SWAT team.

 restraint team

A prison team enters a cell at Rockview State Correctional Institute in Rockview, Pennsylvania; screengrab from β€œRichard Poplawski in jail- RAW VIDEO” by TribLive

Lee spent about the next four of his final hours strapped to the gurney in the death house, his fate uncertain while the U.S. district court, freshly chastened by the Justices for delaying the execution, hastily dismissed his final appeal without ordering a hearing.

Lee was pronounced dead 8:07 A.M. Tuesday, July 14, 2020. He spoke his final words imploring the journalists at his execution to investigate his alibi and untested DNA evidence.

By noon Warden Lammer distributed another round of Chex party mix with lunch. More came around 4:00 P.M. with dinner. I guess Warden Lammer wanted to be especially sure we got his point: putting one of us down is a real celebration.

Indeed, the Chex party mix continued twice daily that week as Warden Lammer and the other 2 wardens in the complex lethally injected Wesley Ira Purkey Thursday, July 16th, followed the next day by Dustin Lee Honken. The protestors corralled far outside the fence and the media witnesses inside must've had no idea Warden Lammer, et al., were seemingly mocking them too with fiesta food---a callous demonstration right under their noses of power over the powerless.

The whole time, Sunday night through Saturday morning, Warden Lammer kept us locked down, only letting us shower twice, briefly.

 Public Domain (Florida State Prison)

This all raises a Constitutional question: Is Warden Lammer deliberately indifferent to cruel and unusual punishment? Like keeping Lee strapped to a gurney for four hours while his final appeal was decided?

 

The Bureau of Prisons media relations office did not immedeatly respond to a request for comment on the menu of party snacks for the next execution.