Haunting Last Words Of Celebrities

Newspapers featuring the late Princess Diana


By Steven John/Updated: Jan. 20, 2022 1:40 pm EDT

Not all celebrities exit the stage for the last time with parting lines worthy of their memorable careers. Witness the last known words of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, who said, "I won't" in response to his fiancee Ginger Alden telling him not to fall asleep in the bathroom (via the Express). On the other hand, you have (literally) famous last words entirely befitting the life and career of those who utter them, like the last words of Albert Einstein, who said, according to History Info, "I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly." (In fact he muttered a few more words as he passed away, but they were whispered in his native tongue of German, a language his nurse did not speak.)

And then on the other hand, there are celebrities whose last words are downright haunting. Perhaps there is something those close to death come to see or learn that those of us with both feet still in the living world miss. In some cases the haunting words spoken by moribund celebrities were calls for help from those hoping to stick around. In other cases, they are pure mystery that will remain unclear. In all cases, they are pretty unsettling, these famous celebrity last words.

"I'm losing it" - Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra clapping hands

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Old Blue Eyes, Francis Albert Sinatra, had a truly stunning career both in the scope of his achievements and the length of his time in the limelight. He began performing music as a teenager and by his mid 20s was starting to attract attention from far and wide, becoming a sensation during the war years in the 1940s and launching a career trajectory that, with minor slumps aside, would not truly settle until his health began to fail him in the 1990s, according to Sinatra.com.

At the very end of his long and storied life, however, Sinatra's last words were few and were spoken only to his grief-stricken wife Barbara, according to Celeb Answers. Lying weak and ailing in a Los Angeles hospital bed, his body failing after a heart attack — one of several the 82 year old had suffered by the date of his death, May 14, 1998 — Sinatra said, "I'm losing it."

And soon enough, so he did. Sinatra lost consciousness and died shortly after speaking these words, showing a prescience about his impending death that is entirely haunting when viewed through one lens, but may actually be seen as comforting by others. At least Sinatra seems to have known his part was played to the end and done.

"Oh wow" - Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs giving a speech

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Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was not a celebrity in the traditional sense — at least not at the start of his career. Before the 2000s, Jobs was better defined as a tech entrepreneur and businessman, and of course he remained those things to the end of his life — a life cut short in October 2011 by a virulent form of pancreatic cancer, according to The New York Times. But in the last decade or so of his life, as Jobs presided over Apple's rolling out of products like the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and ever-improved versions of the beloved Macintosh computers, he crossed the line from techie business guy to a celebrity with an almost cult-like following.

Clad in a simple black turtle neck shirt, Jobs could command the attention of hundreds or even thousands of spectators gathered in auditoriums and many more watching remotely from afar as he touted this or that latest piece of hardware and explained the implications it had for the world beyond. 

When death came for Jobs, it seems rather as though he were looking into a world beyond, as well. According to USA Today, Jobs' last words, as heard by relatives, were, "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow ..."

And contrary to a rumor that went around the web a few years after Jobs died, his last words were decidedly not a diatribe against wealth and materialism. That was pure online apocrypha.

"I'm going away tonight" - James Brown

James Brown singing

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Much like Frank Sinatra, who seemed to have known the end was upon him, so too did James Brown, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business. And the last words of Brown were unsettling and similar to those of Sinatra, in fact. On the morning of December 25, 2006 (yes, Christmas morning), Brown suffered congestive heart failure and, according to TV Guide, managed to gasp the words, "I'm going away tonight," to his longtime friend and manager, Charles Bobbit. Bobbit initially didn't believe Brown was in any real danger but quickly realized the severity of the situation when Brown slipped into unconsciousness, took a few more breaths, and then died.

Brown was 73 when he died, which, while hardly young, is a good decade less of life than many men can expect in modern America. However most men don't spend decades of their lives pouring every ounce of energy (and sweat) they have into music performed live before countless fans, and don't spend many long years abusing many different drugs, either. In the end, Brown's heart had simply been put through too much to keep on beating along. For a frame of reference, despite being weak, confused, and near death in the final days of 2006, Brown was scheduled to play a New Year's Eve show a few days later., reports The Guardian.

"Just don't leave me alone" - John Belushi

John Belushi in character for The Blues Brothers

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Looking back on the life and death of John Belushi, the latter of which occurred on March 5, 1982, according to Rolling Stone, it's hard to believe the actor and comedian was just 33 years old when he died. That's true partly because of how much Belushi accomplished in such a short life, from never-to-be-forgotten roles in movies like "The Blues Brothers" and "Animal House" to his many classic roles on "Saturday Night Live," on which he was one of the original seven cast members (via NBC). It's also true because, candidly, by the time of his death, Belushi looked much older than his 33 years.

More than a decade of hard drug use and a generally unhealthy lifestyle had wreaked havoc on the actor's body, and he looked to be a good decade older than he actually was by the last days of his life. His actual death came as a result of a drug overdose after he was injected with a so-called "speedball," a mixture of heroin and cocaine. His friend and drug dealer, Catherine Smith, is the one who injected the narcotics into Belushi, and, according to Phrases, it was she who heard his last words: "Just don't leave me alone."

Smith did leave him alone, though, and would later serve time for manslaughter for the actor's death. 

"My god, what happened?" - Princess Diana

Princess Diana in a hat

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Despite becoming a real life princess, the life story of Diana, princess of Wales, was anything but a happily ever after tale. Instead, it was a life that commenced with an unhappy childhood in a broken home when she was just 7 years old, and one in which she was rejected by much of her new family after marriage (that's the British Royal Family, to be clear). It was a life in which a husband's affair led to a painfully public divorce, and a life cut short by tragedy.

And unbeknownst to many, Diana did not die immediately following the tragic car crash caused by and then quickly documented by paparazzi who were tailing her car. In the immediate aftermath of the car crash, Diana reportedly had time to look about and, in confusion, say, "My god, what happened?" as she saw the lifeless bodies of two other passengers in the vehicle, according to Oprah Daily. She then lost consciousness and quickly succumbed to death. 

The specific cause of Princess Diana's death was a tear to a vein in the lungs caused by the trauma of the crash, doctors later found. It was a rare injury and, only adding to the tragedy, one that could have been avoided had Diana worn a seatbelt.

"I'll be fine" - Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger poses for a photo

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When actor Heath Ledger died of an accidental prescription drug overdose in January 2008, he was at a point in which his career should have blasted off into the stratosphere. Instead it was cut short at age 28, reports Rolling Stone. His final words show that the actor had no intention of dying, but he was indeed in some deep state of denial. According to To Save a Life, the Australian actor's last words heard by anyone else were, "Katie, I'll be fine" (Katie being his sister).

Ledger, who had earlier said he just needed to get some sleep, confided to his sister that he had taken several different prescription medications and said his fateful and far-from-accurate last words in response to her warning him against mixing so many different drugs. The toxicology report run on the late Ledger found the drugs oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine in his system at the time of his death.

When he died, Ledger was father to a toddler, he had an Academy Award-winning role as The Joker in the feature film "The Dark Knight" in the can, and every indication he believed he would indeed be fine and live on, instead of dying in much the same way as Elvis Presley — alone and filled with a veritable cocktail of drugs.

"Don't leave me" - Chris Farley

Chris Farley outside an LA restaurant at night

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The similarities between the lives and deaths of John Belushi and Chris Farley are so striking as to be unsettling; it's almost as if these two men's lives followed the same script, merely with a few ad libbed moments and a 15-year separation between them. Like Belushi, Farley cut his teeth in comedy at the famed Second City Theater in Chicago (via The Second City) and then went on to national and even international fame thanks to his years as a cast member on "Saturday Night Live" in the 1990s. Like Belushi, Farley had starring roles in several films that are unlikely to ever be forgotten, such as the successful comedy "Tommy Boy."

And like Belushi, Farley was just 33 when he died in despair and alone following a major drug overdose. His last known words are almost a word-for-word re-hashing of Belushi's, too. According to Silver Lining Recovery, Farley's last words spoken to another person were, "Don't leave me." Tragically, these words were spoken to a reported sex worker who, before she did indeed leave him to die alone in his Chicago apartment, stole his watch and took pictures of the actor and comedian as he lay on the floor, near to death.

Farley was found to have alcohol, cocaine, morphine, and marijuana in his system when he died. Compounding the sorrow is the fact that, just a few months before his death, Farley had been in a rehab program.

"I'll be back in five minutes, alright?" - Paul Walker

Paul Walker smiling

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Paul Walker died as he lived, at least in as much as he lived through his character Brian O'Conner in the "Fast and Furious" movie franchise. And that's to say that he died in a crash resulting from the loss of control of a car going way too fast. Walker was not alone when his 2005 Porsche Carrera GT crashed into a lamppost and several trees, so there's a better than average chance his final words were spoken to his driver and fellow crash victim, Roger Rodas, according to CNN. But the actor's last known words are haunting for their simplicity and for how inaccurate they proved to be.

While stepping out of a charity event to take his sports car for a quick spin, Walker called out, "Hey, I'll be back in five minutes, alright?" according to India Today. Instead, within mere minutes, Walker would be dead and with a body so badly damaged and burned by the crash that it could not be positively identified until medical experts could check dental records.

Walker left behind a teenaged daughter and a legacy of films that were all about daredevil feats of speed in cars. 

"You see, this is how you die!" - Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel in a hat

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Everything about legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel was larger than life, right down to her last words. At least, everything about Chanel was larger than life once she came into her own in the early decades of the 20th century. At birth, she was named Gabrielle Chanel, and she was born to parents living in near abject poverty. Chanel pulled herself up by her bootstraps, using her wit, charm, and her undeniable ability as a designer and businesswoman to launch an empire that would include clothes, accessories, perfumes, and more, according to The Guardian.

By the time of her death in 1971, the 87-year-old Chanel was a household name — in fact, she was more a brand than an individual by then, her legacy entirely secure. Chanel clearly knew when the end was imminent, although according to The New York Times, she did not seem to be in ill health despite her very advanced age. True to her character, her final words were a flourish that topped off an amazing — if controversial — life. On January 10, 1971, Chanel reportedly said to her maid Celine, "You see, this is how you die." And shortly thereafter she did just that, her bed becoming a deathbed.

"This is no way to live!" - Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx with a cigar

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The last words spoken by legendary actor and comedian Groucho Marx would be haunting and tragic and whatnot if spoken by most people lying on their deathbeds, but when Marx said, "This is no way to live," shortly before dying, he was making one last quip for the ages. So in this case, his last words are actually pretty hilarious, and it's okay to laugh — he was in on the joke.

Born Julius Henry Marx in the year 1890, Marx was an advanced 86 years old when death came for him in 1977, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. He had been in poor health for two months, suffering from respiratory ailments that worsened into the pneumonia that would eventually kill him. Marx seems to have been well aware he was near the end, and his last words were a solid quip, almost as good as a line also attributed as Marx's final words: "Die, my dear? Why that's the last thing I'll do!" (via University of Houston)

His dying words were in keeping with Marx Brothers' tradition. According to Mental Floss, when his brother Leonard "Chico" Marx had died a decade and a half before, in 1961, his last words, spoken to his wife, were apparently, "Remember, Honey, don't forget what I told you. Put in my coffin a deck of cards, a mashie niblick, and a pretty blonde."

"Money can't buy life" - Bob Marley

Bob Marley singing on stage

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Legendary singer Bob Marley was only 36 years old when he died in 1981, a fact that is hard to believe when one considers the outsized impact the man had on music and on culture at large. What's less surprising is that his last known words, spoken to his son Ziggy, were sage and sorrowful, uttered shortly before succumbing to complications of a malignant form of melanoma that, over the course of half a decade, spread from one of his toes throughout his entire body. The cancer that killed Marley may well have been treated had he allowed the amputation of his toe, but in keeping with his Rastafarian faith, he forbid such an operation, according to Smooth Radio.

And also in keeping with the type of messaging he had espoused his whole life, Marley's last words to Ziggy were, "Money can't buy life." One can speculate that he meant money cannot buy the treatment needed to sustain life, but more likely Marley meant money cannot bring happiness and fulfillment in life, only a life well lived can do that.

"Yeah" - John Lennon

John Lennon wearing glasses

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Say what you will about John Lennon and Yoko Ono's relationship breaking up The Beatles or about Lennon's notorious arrogance and eccentricities, he was an excellent musician. And he was a human being who deserved to live a lot longer than he did. But due to the actions of mentally unstable Mark Chapman, who was determined to kill a famous person and who resented Lennon's comments about The Beatles being bigger than Jesus (via Celeb Answers), his life was cut short.

Chapman shot Lennon in the back multiple times at close range on December 8, 1980. Lennon was 40 years old. His last words were long thought to be the gut wrenching "I'm shot! I'm shot!" but later it came out that his last spoken word could also have been a soft "yes" whispered in response to being asked if he were John Lennon.

Perhaps more sadly still is the fact that, just prior to the shooting, Lennon and his wife had discussed going out to eat before going home but instead chose to go home immediately to see their son Sean before he went to sleep (via the Express).

Next Up

The Most Haunting Last Words Of Criminals

There's something morbidly fascinating about a person's last words. Sure, statistically, there's a pretty excellent chance most humans' final utterance will be something to the tune of "gosh, this hurts," but when the stars line up, they can feel like the summation of a person's life, a final definitive stanza in the poem that is a person's existence. 

By definition, a death row prisoner has a better idea of when their time will come than the rest of us. It's chilling to consider, but they, more than almost anyone, know when they'll make their final statement on Earth. Last remarks are usually prepared, often prayers for forgiveness or apologies to the people they've harmed. Some go with gallows humor. Others give us a glimpse into the mental illness that may have led them to their fate to begin with. Whatever the case, the public is drawn to their terminal words, looking for understanding, or closure, or just macabre entertainment. Here, we'll explore the lives, crimes, and haunting last words of criminals. Be forewarned, things are going to get dark.

Patrick Bryan Knight's last joke

On August 26th, 1991, Walter and Mary Ann Werner returned to their Texas home after work to find it occupied by an irate neighbor, Patrick Knight, who had burgled the house with the help of Robert Bradfield. Knight and Bradfield trapped the Werners in the basement of the house and, the next day, bound and gagged them and drove them into the wilderness where Knight shot them both in the back of the head. 

A police investigation led to a confession from Knight, during which he showed the authorities where the Werners' bodies were located. While his partner in crime was sentenced to concurrent life sentences, Knight was put on death row, where he remained for 14 years. Leading up to his execution, NBC News reports Knight became the subject of media attention when he announced his final words would be a joke, and opened the proverbial floor to submissions. 

In the end, he seemed to change his mind. He opened his final statement with "I said I was going to tell a joke. Death has set me free. That's the biggest joke. I deserve this." He then reportedly plead for mercy on behalf of other death row inmates who he claimed were innocent, saying "Not all of us are innocent, but those are." Then, in his last moments, he said, "And the other joke is that I am not Patrick Bryan Knight and y'all can't stop this execution now. Go ahead. I'm finished."

Billy Conn Gardner's last words had a message

Billy Conn Gardner maintained until the end he was innocent of the crime for which he was put to death. That's something to keep in mind as you read his story, since depending on if you believe him or not, it will make his last words (and the last words he ever heard) either gut wrenching or absolutely terrifying.

In 1995, Billy Gardner was put to death by lethal injection for the murder of Thelma Catherine Row, a cafeteria worker at a Texas high school. According to the New York Times, Gardner conspired with the husband of one of Row's colleagues and broke into her office while she was counting money, stealing $1,600 and shooting Row in the chest. Row passed away from her injuries eleven days later. At the time, Gardner was on parole after having been charged with burglary and assault, among other things. 

While on death row, Gardner was in regular correspondence with an attorney out of Wisconsin who tried unsuccessfully to convince the courts of Billy's innocence. At the end, he seemed to come to terms with what was about to happen. "I hold out no hope at all," he wrote in his final letter. Billy Gardner's last words before being executed were "I forgive all of you. Hope God forgives all of you too." Then his mother, sitting in observation, said, "I've never been more proud of you than I am now."

Karla Faye Tucker's nebulous end

tucker mugshot


Some criminal acts seem to come straight out of a monster movie. A person with no record of criminal activity, seemingly out of the blue, turns sadistic to the point of implausibility. At a glance, that's the story of Karla Faye Tucker.

According to police reports, Tucker was out partying when she and her accomplice, Daniel Garrett, decided the time was right to rob and intimidate 27-year-old Jerry Lynn Dean. Having stolen keys to Dean's apartment, they entered, and Karla Tucker took a pickax to his head and body 28 times, later telling police she received a sensual thrill with every blow. 

Sentenced to death, Karla became a national media phenomenon, drawing interest with her charismatic persona and reported conversion to Christianity. The New York Times says there's an argument to be made her sentencing even caused a dip in Texans' approval of the death penalty. In 1998, Tucker died by lethal injection, the first woman executed by the state of Texas in over twenty years. Depending on your point of view, her last statements were either reflective of her turn to religion, or an ominous portent: "I will see you all when you get there. I will wait for you."

Erskine Childers tries to help

The 1920s were a grim period for Ireland. Civic strife and gruesome, bloody civil war led to sweeping reforms like the Army Emergency Powers Resolution of September, 1922. Among other things, it instituted martial law across the country, allowing trial by court martial, and made the possession of firearms by civilians an offense punishable by death.

Robert Erskine Childers, meanwhile, was an Englishman, author, and soldier; a decorated Boer War and World War I veteran. It's unknown when exactly he became enamored with Irish Nationalism, but he was passionate on the subject, smuggling weapons and even being accused of writing propaganda for the nationalist cause or the IRA during the war. A close eye was kept on Childers, and in November of 1922, his home was raided and he was arrested for possession of a revolver.

Before being put to death by firing squad, was reported to have shaken hands with his executioners, and to have said, "Take a step or two forward, lads. It will be easier that way."

Carl Panzram: par for the terrible course

In the pantheon of film and literature, you'd be hard pressed to find a fictional criminal with a more cartoonishly abhorrent personality and lifestyle than the all-too-real Carl Panzram. According to his own (intensely not safe for work) writings, Panzram had killed at least 21 people by the end of his life, expressing no remorse. Writing about his crimes, including murder, robbery, and arson, he wrote "For all of these things I am not the least bit sorry. I have no conscience so that does not worry me. I don't believe in man, God, nor devil. I hate the whole damed (sic) human race, including myself."

While he was never arrested for murder, Panzram garnered the death penalty when, while serving a 25-to-life sentence in Leavenworth, he beat prison employee Robert Warnke to death with an iron bar, leaving the man's wife a widow and his son without a father. 

At his hanging on the 5th of September, 1930, Carl Panzram kept true to form, spitting in the face of the man who put the bag over his head. Just before the execution commenced, he was asked if he had any last words. His response: "Hurry it up you Hoozier bastard. I could kill ten men while you're screwing around."

John Spenkelink got poetic with his last words

To his last breath, John Arthur Spenkelink swore he was innocent in the murder of 45-year-old Joseph J. Szymankiewicz in February of 1973. According to Spenkelink, he had picked up Szymankiewicz hitchhiking, then accidentally shot him in an act of self-defense when Szymankiewicz forced Spenkelink to have sex with him in a Tallahassee motel.

According to prosecutors, however, Spenkelink waited until Szymankiewicz was asleep, then shot him in the head and back and beat him with a hatchet. Spenkelink then skipped town with another hitchhiker, Frank Bruum, and the two were arrested for suspicion of armed robbery in California a few days later. 

John Spenkelink made headlines when he became the first man executed in the state of Florida after a 10-year moratorium on government-sanctioned criminal executions. His last words before being electrocuted mirrored his claims he was only being put to death because he couldn't afford better court representation: "Capital punishment," he said. "Them without the capital get the punishment."

Aileen Wuornos: monstrously puzzling last words

For the uninitiated, Aileen Wuornos was the subject of the 2003 motion picture Monster, where she was played by Charlize Theron. Her life was a series of horrifying events: her father died in prison while serving time for child molestation, and her mother left her to be raised by an alcoholic grandmother and an abusive grandfather. Adult life didn't treat her much better, and she had soon turned to prostitution and petty crime. Over the course of twelve months in 1989 and 1990, she killed six men, and after property taken from the victims was recovered from several pawn shops with Wuornos' fingerprints, she was apprehended and confessed to the crimes, claiming each of the men had attempted to rape her and she was acting in self-defense. 

Then, in 2001, Wuornos experienced a change of heart, volunteering for the death penalty and saying keeping her alive would be a waste of taxpayer money. CNN quoted her as saying, "I killed those men, robbed them as cold as ice," and, "There's no chance in keeping me alive or anything, because I'd kill again. I have hate crawling through my system."

Before being subjected to death by lethal injection, Aileen Wuornos gave one final message, as chilling as it was mysterious: "I'd just like to say I'm sailing with the rock, and I'll be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6. Like the movie, big mother ship and all, I'll be back."

Barbara Graham gets bloody insightful

A product of a time in American history when high-profile criminals were given nicknames like Dick Tracy villains, Barbara "Bloody Babs" Graham was a fascinating case. It's been noted by KCET she was something out of a noir detective story: a hypnotic beauty with a willingness to kill. As is often the case, the reality is a lot more tragic.

Graham's mother, an unwed teenager, was sent to live at a reform school shortly after Barbara's birth, leaving Barbara to be raised in foster homes and orphanages. After an arrest for vagrancy as a teenager, Barbara was sent to the same school. She was released in 1939 at the age of sixteen, immediately married, and gave birth to her first child in 1940. A couple of divorces, a heroin dependency, and a remarkably pragmatic approach to a career in prostitution later, Graham was implicated in the murder of a Burbank woman named Mabel Monohan during a botched robbery. While the evidence against her was largely circumstantial and dependent on the testimony of an accomplice turned state's evidence, Graham was sentenced to death.

After being strapped into the gas chamber, Barbara was reportedly told by a corrections official that taking a deep breath would mean the cyanide gas wouldn't bother her, to which she sort of brilliantly replied, "How in the hell would you know?" But her last words are the ones that really stick with you: "Good people are always so sure they're right."

Sarah Good lives up to her name

The Salem Witch Trials were, to put it exceptionally mildly, not America's finest hour. Between February of 1692 and May of the next year, hundreds of people were accused of consorting with the devil, causing supernatural mayhem, and overall being whatever the opposite of peanut butter is to Puritanism's righteous chocolate.

Sarah Good was one of the first unlucky ones. There were these two cousins in Salem named Abigail Williams and Betty Parris, young women who wound up being, if they were to be believed, two of the most bewitched and accursed human beings in history. While their peculiar behavior has in recent years been attributed to everything from epilepsy to bad wheat and even simply boredom, according to History of Massachusetts, it was blamed on witchcraft at the time, and the two put the blame specifically on three locals: a farmer named Sarah Osborne, a slave called Tituba, and Sarah Good.

These would be the first three accusations in what would go on to be the Salem Witch Trials, a period of history synonymous with baseless claims and harsh, pointless punishments. Good, to her credit, was having precisely zero of it. Her last recorded words before being hanged were, "I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink."

Breaker Morant's last order

How do we define a war crime? War, it's been remarked, is hell. It is, by its very nature, a series of atrocities committed chaotically in the pursuit, theoretically, of higher order; a safer world. It might even seem after a cursory glance the term "war crime" was invented by someone who never, themselves, saw war. It isn't civil. It is mania.

Or at least that's probably how Harry "Breaker" Morant felt when he was sentenced to die for war crimes committed during the Second Boer War. What, exactly, did the Australian soldier do that brought him to his end? Like with so many other corners of history, Executed Today says it depends a lot on who you ask. Some people say he was carrying out an unwritten order from British higher ups to take no prisoners. Others will tell you that, after Morant's friend was captured and mutilated, he went on a revenge killing spree, murdering prisoners of war.

Really, the one thing everyone can agree on is the intensity of his last words, shouted at the firing squad: "Shoot straight, you bastards! Don't make a mess of it!"

Charles Livingston gets down to business

According to prosecutors, on August 10th, 1983, 21-year-old Charlie Livingston stalked the parking lot of a Houston grocery store, waiting for his chance to strike. He was four years into a 10-year probation for the attempted murders of an ex and her boyfriend at the time.

When Janet Caldwell exited the store, witnesses say Livingston was hiding under her van. He then reportedly climbed out, held her at gunpoint, and tried to steal her purse. In the ensuing struggle, Caldwell was shot twice in the throat. Livingston was discovered by police not far from the scene of the crime, and later identified by witnesses in a lineup.

The court case that followed was a lengthy one. Livingston claimed that he had been unlawfully identified, with police specifically dressing him in the same manner as the man who was witnessed fleeing the scene. A handful of other defenses later, though, he was executed by lethal injection on November 21st, 1997. His final words marked a broken man: "You all brought me here to be executed, not to make a speech. That's it."

G.W. Green: we were all thinking it

According to Texas law, any participant in a fatal crime, whether they pulled the literal/metaphorical trigger or not, could be sentenced to death. That's how G.W. Green wound up executed for a murder he didn't commit.

In November of 1976, Green and two accomplices broke into the home of a juvenile probation officer for the county of Montgomery named John Denson in the hopes of stealing his gun collection. Denson and his family were held at gunpoint, and Denson lunged at one of the intruders, trying to take his weapon away. Denson was shot once in the struggle, then two more times to finish him off, by Green's co-conspirator, Joseph Starvaggi. Chillingly, Denson's wife and young daughter were also in the house, and told by the Green and company to hide under a blanket during the time when Denson was shot. They later claimed that Green screamed at Starvaggi to shoot the two of them, but Starvaggi refused.

In 1991, a stay of execution for Green was denied. Asked if he had any last words before being killed by lethal injection, he said, "Let's do it, man. Lock and load." Then, as the drugs began to take hold, he muttered, "Ain't life a b*tch?"