April 30, 2014

Dead Run: The Shocking Story Of Dennis Stockton And Life On Death Row In America (Book Review)

Dennis Stockton entered Death Row in June of 1983. Twelve years later in September of 1995, he was executed by the state of Virginia through lethal injection. His crime? The merciless killing of a seventeen-year-old North Carolina boy. To his last breath as he lay dying on a gurney at the execution chamber with the injected poison wreaking havoc in his system, Stockton insisted that he did not commit the gruesome crime. He claimed innocence since day one.

Dead Run's description of Stockton's final demise is tragic yet peaceful: "Dennis stared at the ceiling. His eyes closed like shutters. At 9:08, there were ripples in his chest, probably spasms caused by the blood's terminal acidity, the body's last primitive protest. The spasms ended, and it was apparent Stockton would not move again."

Written by Joe Jackson and William F. Burke Jr., Dead Run is a detailed and in-your-face account of Stockton's conviction of murder, his fight to clear his name, and his days in a state-of-the-art prison which all led to the day he made The Walk - the last steps every executed prisoner will ever take - to the chamber of death. It's a well-researched tome on the true accounts surrounding the life and death of a condemned man who may or may not be guilty.

Dead Run isn't just a story of a man subjected to legal murder. It's also an eye-opening and in-depth look into how Death Row convicts lived their lives inside America's most secure prison facilities. However, it pays to mention that the "life on Death Row" described in the pages of Dead Run concerns only the twelve years that Stockton spent in it. We are now into the 21st century and surely a lot of the things described in the book have changed.

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