Knight was the 18th inmate executed this year in Texas.
Knight was known for the “Dead Man Laughing” campaign Patrick Bryan Knight was executed by lethal injection Tuesday, and pronounced dead at 6:21 PM for the murders of Mary and Walter Werner. The Werner’s were shot execution style in August of 1991. A co-defendant Bradfield received a life sentence and is currently in a Texas prison. Knight’s execution was the 18th in Texas this year (CNN video).
Knight had gained notoriety for his “Dead Man laughing” campaign in which he solicited jokes to read as his last statement. His Myspace site, which was maintained by his anti-death penalty friend, received 30,000 page views, and hundreds of friend adds and comments in less than a month. Knight received over a thousand jokes by mail. Capital-“X” a death penalty opponent and rap artist, recorded an original song titled “Dead Man Laughing” and it has been playing on the Myspace page.
When asked for his last statement, Knight thanked God for his friends and asked for help for the innocent on death row, according to Michael Graczyk, Associated Press reporter who was witness to the execution. He named several men, but the names were not printed. An emotional Knight stated, “Not all of us are innocent, but those are”. He went on to say, “I said I was going to tell a joke. Death has set me free. That’s the biggest joke. I deserve this.” and also stated “And the other joke is that I am not Patrick Bryan Knight and y’all can’t stop the execution now. Go ahead, I’m finished”.
Michelle Lyons who is prison spokesperson said “we fingerprint them when they come over” and disputed the mistaken identity claim.
It was not reported if there were any witnesses in the death chamber from either side, nor was it reported if Knight was granted a last meal.
Knight, 39, had said in an earlier interview with the media that the inmates on death watch were in need of jokes, and some humor “to ease the tension”, and that is mainly what started the Dead Man Laughing Campaign.
He admits to drinking and doing drugs when he was young. Knight was 23 when the crime was committed, and said he didn’t remember much about the murder. Knight and the Werner’s had argued as neighbors about his loud music and loud cars, and Knight said of the Werner’s “I regret so much because they were such good people”, I’m the cause of this crime, no doubt about it” he said, “It bothers me I might be capable of taking someone’s life”, reported by Michael Graczyk, Associated Press.
On Monday night KDOL radio station, “All Life Is Precious” held a “Shout Out Show” for Knight. Knight was allowed to call in and say his good-byes to his friends and thank them for their support. Numerous friends and concerned people called in the show to say goodbye, or “shout out” to Patrick. Music that was chosen especially for Knight was played throughout the program. “All Life Is Precious” hosts a special show for every inmate who is to be executed.
Knight was reported by friends to have been visited hours before his execution, and seemed in good spirits. It was also reported by friends that the guards were being good to him. Throughout all the media attention Knight always claimed to have no disrespect for the victims. Knight had several nicknames he was called by his friends, Mutt-Dog, The Insane -Cajun, Worm-Dirt, and “Dead Man Laughing”.