Fact Check

Cannibal Pedophile's Last Meal

An item about a Texas 'cannibal pedophile' death row inmate requesting a child as his last meal is a hoax.

Published Sep 22, 2014

Claim:
A Texas death row inmate requested he be served a child as his last meal.

This absurd item about a Texas "cannibal pedophile" death row inmate named Doug Stephener, who requested that his last meal before execution be a (non-Asian) child — a request that the state is now obligated to satisfy by procuring a corpse for him — appears to have originated as a hoax news item/petition on French-language web sites (hence the stiltedness of translated English-language versions).

If the sheer ridiculousness of this item's premise isn't sufficiently self-debunking, then we offer as negative proof the fact that according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, no one named Doug Stephener (or Stephen K. Walker) has been, or is about to be, executed in the state of Texas.

Moreover, the practice of allowing a condemned prisoner to choose his final meal is merely a courtesy that has traditionally been extended to those about to be executed for their crimes; no state mandates that all such requests must be fulfilled, no matter how unusual, impractical, or costly they might be. In fact, the state of Texas ended the provision of last meal requests to inmates back in 2011 when a condemned man ridiculously asked for "two chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, fried okra, a pound of barbecue, three fajitas, a meat lover's pizza, a pint of ice cream and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts," then didn't eat any of that bounty.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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