Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Patrick Knight

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A jury convicted Knight of capital murder in September 1993 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in March 1996. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.

Robert Timothy Bradfield was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. He remains in custody as of this writing.

In the month leading up to his execution, Knight held a contest asking for people to send him jokes. Knight said that he would say the best joke in his last statement. The contest was called "Dead Man Laughing" and was announced on a MySpace page set up by one of Knight's friends. The contest was then promoted by several anti-death-penalty web sites. According to one source, Knight received about twenty letters a day after announcing the contest, most of them with jokes. Law enforcement officials and talk show hosts and callers were not amused. "It just shows he has no respect for human life, including his own," Randall County District Attorney James Farren said.

"A little bit of levity is needed," Knight said to a reporter. "And it seems to be working. I just want to go out laughing. I'm not trying to disrespect anyone. I know I'm not innocent."

In the interview from death row, Knight also spoke about his crime. He said that at the time of the murders, he was young and immature, and drunk and high on drugs. He said he didn't remember much about the killings except that they were the climax of complaints the Werners had made about his loud music and loud cars. "I regret so much because they were such good people," Knight said. "I'm the cause of this crime, no doubt about it. It bothers me I might be capable of taking someone's life."

Knight said that Bradfield looked up to him at the time as a big brother and that he made drugs and alcohol attractive and available to Bradfield.

When Knight arrived at the Huntsville Unit on the day of his execution, he told prison officials that he had 1,300 jokes delivered to his cell on death row. He said that he chose the five he liked best and ran them past his condemned buddies on death row to pick the one that he would deliver in his last statement.

At his execution, Knight thanked God for his friends and asked for help for innocent men on death row. He named several he said were innocent. His voice shaking and nearly in tears, he said, "Not all of us are innocent, but those are."

"I said I was going to tell a joke," Knight continued. "Death has set me free. That's the biggest joke. I deserve this. 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." The lethal injection was then started. He was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m.

Knight's mistaken identity claim - which apparently was his joke - was refuted by prison spokeswoman Michelle Lyons and Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson, who both said that his identity had been positively established.


By David Carson. Posted on 27 June 2007.
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Attorney General's office, AFP, Associated Press, court documents.

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