I've been regularly checking the "Letters from Matt" Facebook site ever since a friend alerted me to the upcoming execution of a man on Mississippi's Death Row, with whom she had been corresponding for several years. I blogged about it on the NCR Today blog last week.
This evening, at 6:18 p.m. Eastern time, Matt was executed by the State of Mississippi after the governor refused appeals for clemency, according to Reuters.
His mother, Mary Stennett Puckett, wrote tonight on the Facebook page:
"We have talked to Matt and he is calm and at peace. He asked that we not worry about him. We prayed that God would free Matt but God has a different definition for free. Matt will finally be free. I told him that he was put on this earth for a purpose and that was to teach us lessons. He asked that we not squander what we had learned and that if we can't love our neighbor, then we cannot get right with God. We want to thank each and every one of you who joined us in this fight. We appreciate the petition signatures, the prayers and all the encouragement we as a family have received."
I was so nervous checking the page tonight, for fear of the news of his death. The clemency appeal was supposedly heard last week, and I had wondered why there had been no news. In the end, more than 5,000 people signed a petition at change.org, calling on the governor to commute his sentence to life in prison. Many thought he was innocent.
I have a sick feeling in my stomach, because as a citizen of this country, I have this man's blood on my hands. Reading of his last meal (Macadamia nut
pancakes, maple syrup, butter, shrimp and grits, ice cream cake from Dairy Queen, a bag of Werther's Original caramel candy and an A&W Root Beer) reminds me of how premeditated it all was.
May God have mercy on us.