Famous Last Words

Last week, a man standing trial for a double homicide in Utah wrote an e-mail to the Ogden newspaper, the Standard Examiner.  In it, he commented on some of the evidence in the case and the credibility of one of the witnesses against him.

As a former lawyer, I can tell you that this is an attorney’s worst nightmare.  An attorney doesn’t want his client talking to anyone, much less the press.  That is especially true in a serious case such as this, in which the defendant is facing the death penalty.

Even worse, this is Utah, where one of the methods of execution is by firing squad, a particularly grisly practice permitted almost nowhere else.

Why do I bring all this up?

Because at the end of his e-mail, this accused murderer made one additional little comment to the newspaper:

“While I have you here, my friends and I would like to request that you bring back the comics, Pearls Before Swines and Garfield. Thank you.”

Sure, he spelled “Swine” wrong, and fine, he mentioned Garfield.  But the point is that this accused double-murderer knows a good comic when he sees it.

My only complaint is that he opened the letter with the trivial matter of trying to avoid the firing squad, thus burying the important stuff at the end.

But hey, a fan’s a fan.

So let that be a warning to any newspaper that dares to drop Pearls.

I know people.

43 thoughts on “Famous Last Words

  1. Maybe he became a murderer because reading your strip drove him to it. Did you ever think of that?

  2. “I’ve got friends in low places…” 🙂

    Love your strip – but have to point out that firing squad is not legal in UT anymore. That last prisoner was condemned back when it WAS legal, and that was his choice.

    Once all the appeals ran their course, he was finally given the death he asked for… oooooh, about 20 years later…

  3. Hmmm…seems like it would make more sense that the absence of the strip drove him to it. If the Standard Examiner had kept Pearls, lives would have been saved!

  4. Hey Stephan, did you autograph anything for that nut job that stabbed another fan ????

  5. I’ve always wanted to write my local paper, especially to bring up the fact it should run your strip. It never occurred to me that killing someone might just be an opportunity… Yet some part of me says that would be stupid. There must be other ways…

  6. I know people too.

    Most will be off in 4 to 5 with good behavior.

    I don’t talk much with the ones on death row.

    Interestingly, this could lead to a week’s worth of strips for you. Each character could be on death row and select their method of execution.

    I will leave it up to you to come up with appropriate methods because I am not particularly clever. I would think that death by zeeba would be fitting but then again that is much too silly.

  7. it’s a keeper for the scrapbook, certainly.

    i love it when violent crime is connected to my work.

    free street cred.

  8. Maybe if you were his attorney he would not be facing a firing squad. My husband thinks the firing is a great idea-so long as it is not after him. Should it ever be (it will not) I will not hesitate call you for his representation.
    Back to double homicide guy-at least he knows what is funny, even while facing death!

  9. If he was driven to murder because his newspaper stopped carrying Pearls, it’s a shame nobody told him about the Internet (capital I for emphasis).

  10. If they publish the comic “Lio” by Mark Tatulli in Utah, Pearls made a Cameo appearance in tody’s strip. I think Lio may eventually grow up to be a murderer…

  11. Congrats. Your demographic just changed.

    Alleged murderers who read comics and talk to the press.

  12. There’s a paper in this country that doesn’t run Garfield?

    Or, I mean, Pearls Before Swine…s….

  13. I think the best part is that he mentions he has “friends” who also want the strips run in the paper. While I guess a lot of people would assume “friends” would be either benign or incarcerated people, I like to think otherwise.

    Maybe his mention of having “friends” who share his wishes is a sort of threat to the paper. These “friends” could also be capable of committing multiple homicides… except they haven’t been locked up yet. And the only thing that can prevent the slaughter of dozens of members of the press is more Pearls Before Swine.

    Congratulations, Stephan. You may be responsible for saving half the press of UT from a grisly fate. Maybe they’ll sing songs of your heroism in years to come, or award you with the Nobel Peace Prize for finally bringing peace to Utah.

  14. OK, it’s funny that he wrote that, but seriously…Garfield…really? The last time it was funny was the guy who whitesout Garfield, and they don’t print that in the funny papers.

  15. I griggin love this comic strip. I only discovered it a coule of years ago and I wish I had found it sooner! Every strip is classic! Sheere genius!

  16. Well, at least he didn’t use the line I heard once while assisting the assistant district attorney in the courtroom: “Yo’ honuh, suh, I th’ows myseff on da ign’ance o’ da co’t!”

  17. Yet another proud moment for us in Utah. I wrote the Standard Examiner to complain as well. But I have yet to be accused of a minor felony, let alone murder, so I guess my opinion is worthless. At least I am not a Garfield fan…

  18. From the very little information shared in a shabby way by the Standard Examiner, this is only one thing I can say.

    As in ALL the American movies (and, most likely, as in real life), the prosecution (County/District Attorney) ALWAYS just wants to bust the defendant. The suspect is sent to court, and both the police and the prosecutor just want him/her to be convicted. NOBODY WANTS JUSTICE, NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE TRUTH!

    This is what shocked me in the American spirit, as opposed to the continental European spirit. Certainly, there is a fight between the defendant’s attorney and the prosecution’s attorney. Obviously, justice is not always made, and only too often a persuasive lawyer or, on the contrary, a witness who is wrong decide what the jury’s or the judge’s decisions are. Nevertheless, nobody seems to FIGHT FOR THE TRUTH. They seem to fight FOR VANITY. For success. It’s like the court trial is a basketball game! Hey, we, the District Attorney team, we won! We were so very good at selling our story! Who the bloody cares if the defendant was guilty or not?

    A convicted zeeba is a dead zeeba. Who cares if the witness wasn’t reliable?

  19. The American legal system never ceases to amaze me.
    A man currently standing trial for a double murder is allowed access to email, and worse, the newspaper actually published his comments regarding the evidence in his ongoing trial!

    Do you guys have no sub judice laws at all?

  20. Ahh, that’s amazing! If I’m ever put on death row (not likely, this is Canada), I’ll make sure to quote Rat or L’il Guard Duck.

  21. Hi stef… . We love pbs very much and read it together every days.

    but today srtip contain some violence so we make little cencor on it !!

    the color chang from compress progress . Don’t think to much 🙂

  22. @ “The Real Dan”

    Where’s Utah? Come on Dan, everyone knows that “Utah” is a ficticious place just like, “North Dakota” or “Washington, DC.” How gullible can you get? It was a JOKE.

  23. @Jim I swear I heard about a place called Utah. It must exist. I read that on the internet so it must be true!

  24. Choosing the modes of execution was something my friends and I used to talk about when we were kids.

    I personally would rather face a firing squad than get eaten by pirañas.

    PS @ beranger: Hey, lighten up man!

  25. Lighten up? Here’s now a living proof that juries composed of morons serve anything but justice: “Implicit consent”—women can be stripped if they’re dancing at a bar.


    I could never understand the idea of a jury trial. Call me whatever you want, but I believe that for serving justice, a trained legal professional should judge, not a random selection of uneducated individuals who are easy to fool by good rhetoric and who have no legal knowledge (actually, having any loose connection with justice or law enforcement disqualifies you for a position in a jury).

    I can understand that in the Middle Ages, a judge was seen as a representative of the King, hence the suspicion that he would serve “political decisions”, therefore in matters of life and death “the power should be to the people”. I suppose this is how the concept of a jury was born.

    We’re now in the 21st century, with very sophisticated mechanisms of control, with a lot of transparency in many public matters, with ways to appeal a judgment, and so on. And yet, people in many countries either are forced by the judicial system to be tried by a jury, or they actually ask for it, as this is a constitutional right!

    We have all seen American movies where juries were only too often shown to be easy manipulable, if not composed by utterly morons.

    If you still believe that the concept of a jury serves the act of justice…

    Make it a panel of 3 or 5 judges, but not a jury of rednecks! (The law requires that members of the jury be mediocre people with no legal knowledge whatsoever; now, how can a janitor or a seamstress have the capacity of judging complex situations?) Obviously, juries will misuse, misunderstand, or give inappropriate weight to unreliable evidence and tricky testimonies; only trained legal professionals are capable of identifying reliable evidence and manipulation. But hey, people don’t want to accept elementary truths!

    Humankind is doomed: people can’t reform their legal systems to serve their best interests. I guess we need a world war to kill 90% of us, because we’re way too stupid.

  26. “Congrats. Your demographic just changed.

    Alleged murderers who read comics and talk to the press.Alleged murderers who read comics and talk to the press.”

    Um, multiple-murderers who ignore their lawyer’ advice and talk to the press?

    Wait, did I just say that? Oh crap.

  27. @Beranger Last thing I want is an activist judge making decisions that affect my well being. There is no such thing as an apolitical judge. You’re naive to think so.

  28. Dude, I would have left the Star Wars dolls in the plastic. They would have been worth a fortune now.

  29. At least he didn’t lump you in with “Marmaduke”, or worse yet, “Fred Basset”….

  30. actually a firing squad is the best, its quick and almost painless, Florida has electric chair, and Ohio still uses the noose. So i think that man is very lucky, unless they aim 4 his pants.

  31. There are better examples of the power Pearls holds.
    To wit: last month Pig said a Bad Thing about BP. Less than 24 hours after the strip ran, the oil well was capped.

    Then, a Sunday strip made the point that we’re all affected (afflicted?) by the gulf spill. Less than 24 hours after that strip ran, BP announced that its CEO would be replaced.

    Moral: don’t annoy the pig and the rat.

  32. Instead of doing a cover, just print that letter on the front of your next collection.

  33. hey i read that paper and I heard about the murderer. Didn’t think you’d hear about it!

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