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 Post subject: Former San Quentin warden reveals how he killed prisoners
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 2:32 pm 
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THE EXECUTIONER'S TALE: Former San Quentin warden reveals how he killed prisoners in the jail's 'coughing box' without any training . . . or remorse


By Wills Robinson For Dailymail.com

Published: 08:09 EST, 4 May 2016 | Updated: 09:28 EST, 4 May 2016


Without any experience or medical training, Dan Vasquez was employed by the government to kill other human beings.

As warden of San Quentin, one of the most notorious prisons in the world, put inmates to death in the gas chamber - known by his staff and those on death row as the 'coughing box'.

The day before an execution he would bring in a psychologist to help his team prepare to watch a condemned criminal die, in a bid to avoid post-traumatic stress.

Then, just hours later, he would ask the prisoner for his last words as he was strapped into a chair inside a tiny metal green room.

Then he would start the chemical reaction that has been deemed the most dangerous and expensive way to kill an inmate.

Vasquez insists he was never fazed by putting an inmate to death, as it was his job.

In his first interview since stepping down as California's state executioner, Vasquez has told Daily Mail Online his role as California's state executioner has never haunted him.

For more than 30 years he has been involved in the death penalty, either carrying it out or testifying as consultant at capital murder trials.

The grandfather-of-two also believes in an 'eye-for-an-eye' when it comes to the death penalty - that condemned inmates should be killed in the same manner they killed their victims

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California's former state executioner Dan Vasquez describes the last moments of executed inmate Robert Alton Harris in 1992. In an interview with the Daily Mail Online he believes that the only way to bring an end to capital punishment is to kill condemned inmates in the same manner they killed their victims


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The day before an execution, Vasquez described how he would gather his staff in the death chamber at San Quentin (pictured in 1972)

A controversial policy like that, he believes, would send a strong message to would-be criminals and act as a deterrent,

'In my opinion, if you want to stop human beings killing other human beings, when you execute the first person in the manner that they killed their victim.

'I think it would get rid of the need for the death penalty.

'For example, if I rape a woman and strangle her, then they would rape and strangle me.'

'If that happened, maybe other people would get the message of murder under special circumstances.

'I shoot you to death, then maybe I should be executed by being shot.

'It should be an eye-for-an-eye. If it's done that way, I guarantee you that you are going to go a long way to stopping the criminal offense of killing another person.

'If I stab you to death and cut you into pieces, maybe I should be stabbed and cut into pieces.'

Vasquez is a father-of-two who has been married for 51 years to wife Juanita.

As warden at San Quentin, Vasquez was the state executioner between 1983 and 1993.

For the first nine years, he didn't put any inmates to death, as the 1976 US Supreme Court decision of Gregg v. Georgia had put a moratorium on the death penalty.

But when it was lifted, he carried out the first execution in San Quentin for almost 25 years.

'I knew it was part of the job.

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A chemical engineer would have tested the lethal gas to make sure it was toxic enough to kill the inmate

A chemical engineer would have tested the lethal gas to make sure it was toxic enough to kill the inmate, who would face his fate inside the tiny metal green room known as the 'coughing box'

'I prepared for it by preparing the procedure and putting it all together.

'I made sure the gas chamber was working, made sure maintenance was done on it. I prepared in that manner.

'I also practiced in running the lethal gas. We had a chemical engineer from Indiana who would come in and measure the toxicity of the lethal gas inside the chamber.'

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The first person he put to death was Robert Alton Harris, who killed two teenage boys in San Diego in 1978. He was originally scheduled at 12.01am on April 21, 1992, but stays meant his death was delayed for six hours

'I didn't receive any training, but I prepared myself. I didn't need the department to help me with anything.'

He killed two inmates by lethal gas - Robert Alton Harris and David Edwin Mason.

The gas chamber was never as popular as the electric chair in the United States but was used widely in Arizona, Wyoming, Missouri, Mississippi and California.

Still, it was considered the most expensive and most dangerous way to kill an inmate.

The prisoner, strapped into a metal chair inside a tiny chamber, waits as potassium cyanide pellets are dropped into a bath of sulfuric acid below. The chemical reaction would generate fumes of lethal hydrogen cyanide.

As a result, the inmate would then suffer terribly before dying of hypoxia, a form of oxygen starvation

Harris, who killed two teenage boys in San Diego in 1978, was originally scheduled at 12.01am on April 21, 1992.

He finished his last meal - a 21-piece bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, two large Domino's pizzas, a bag of jelly beans, a six-pack of Pepsi, and a pack of Camel cigarettes - before he was led into the death chamber.

But a series of four stays of execution issued by 9th circuit appeal court delayed the execution until just after 6am.

At one point he was strapped into his seat in the gas chamber when the phone rang. According to witnesses, he urged the prison guards to get over and done with, but they couldn't.

Moments later, the guards opened the doors and Alton Harris became the first prisoner to leave the gas chamber at San Quentin alive - even if it was for just a short time.

Aside from the delays execution was however remembered for his bizarre choice of last words:

He said: 'You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everybody dances with the grim reaper,'[12] a misquotation of a line from the 1991 film Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey.

Vasquez said he was frustrated by the constant delays, but when it came to it, the prisoner was killed without an issue.

David Edwin Mason, who murdered four elderly people in 1980 and his cellmate in 1982, would be the last person in California to be put to death by lethal gas.

His execution was far smoother, as he kept his vow not to go through any final appeals.

Instead of having a traditional last meal, he instead opted to dine with his family on sandwiches provided by the prison.


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He finished his last meal - a 21-piece bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, two large Domino's pizzas, a bag of jelly beans, a six-pack of Pepsi, and a pack of Camel cigarettes - before he was led into the death chamber. Vasquez said he was frustrated by the constant delays, but when it came to it, the prisoner was killed without an issue

When Mason was in the chamber, Vasquez asked if he wanted to proceed, knowing that his attorney could stop the execution at any time.

But Mason refused.

He died on August 24, 1993, 12 months before a federal judge said the execution method constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

It would be the last execution Vasquez carried out, but a year later he was invited to watch the lethal injection procedure in Texas.

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David Edwin Mason, who murdered four elderly people in 1980 and his cellmate in 1982, would be the last person in California to be put to death by lethal gas. From then on the state would use lethal injections to kill condemned inmates - and it still does today

As a witness, he returned and offered his advice to the then California Attorney General Dan Lungren, on the new method that has been used to kill inmates ever since.

Despite his involvement in the controversial system, Vasquez insists capital punishment hasn't had a damaging impact on his life.

'They don't haunt me. I didn't put the inmates on the row, they put themselves on their with their actions.

'I have never received any complaints from my execution team nor from the department of corrections in California.

'I have never received any kind of disability initiation for participating in the executions.

'It hasn't affected my life at all.'

Capital punishment in the United States is still frequently part of political debates. Recently, Virginia's legislature said they were bringing back the electric chair as a back-up way to kill inmates.

Vasquez says it will never happen because of the courts, but insists he is still for capital punishment.

'I'm for the executions. I would be a hypocrite if I wasn't'.

But he does believe that a sentence of life without parole is more punishment than an execution.

'In California there hasn't been an execution in ten years. It is held up in the courts right now.

'The policy of the state of California is the death penalty.

'The citizens of the state of California have been asked on three different occasions on a ballot if they wanted to do away with capital punishment in California.

'Three times they have voted for the death penalty. I don't have any problems with the death penalty. But I don't have any problems with life without the possibility of parole either.'

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There hasn't been an execution in California since 2006, when Clarence Ray Allen was put to death by lethal injection. He is pictured in San Quentin with his family the day before his execution

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San Quentin State Prison, pictured above in 2015, opened in 1852 and is the oldest prison in California. The facility is located across the bay from San Francisco

There hasn't been an execution in California since 2006, when Clarence Ray Allen was put to death by lethal injection.

Legal cases and problems with the lethal injection procedure led to a moratorium being signed in California. As capital punishment was brought to a halt, the death row population swelled

A quarter of condemned inmates in the United States currently sit on death row in California.

Now, it has been lifted, and some of the 764 rapists, murderers and kidnappers on death row are facing their sentence.

Seven have been there since the 1970s.

It could be at least a year until California puts another inmate to death, but Vasquez thinks the questions surrounding the death penalty will prevail, and will never be answered.

'Attorneys are always raising issues. It's like the question a philosopher once posed: 'How many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

'It is a question that can never be answered, but is a question that will always exist.

'Does it hurt when they execute you? How many angels dance on the head of a pin?'

Now, Vasquez is a consultant, and still has a role in the whole execution process.

He said: 'When your watch is over at San Quentin then you don't do anymore executions.

'Now the closest I get to any issue of executions is when I testify in the penalty phase of capital trial in California.

'What that requires is for me to educate the jury that is going to make the decision on an inmate who has been charged with a capital crime.

'Whether to sentence them to death or sentence them to life without the possibility of parole.'

He explains to the jury what prisons in the California state system are like, and how life without parole will impact a prisoner.

'The defense usually hire me,' he added. 'It does not involve pros or cons. It only involves educating the jury on all the policies involved in incarcerating a prisoner'

Vasquez also does a variety of consulting on prisons. He has testified on death in custody, either by suicide or at the hands of the prison guards.

He has also been involved in informing prisons on how to avoid escapes.

In January, four inmates managed to flee the Orange County Central Jail through the roof.

They went on the run for almost a week before they were spotted and captured.

Vasquez slammed the prison, claiming their regime, the decision to lock the criminals together and the fact they left so long between headcounts, was the cause of their escape.

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San Quentin state prison has California's only death row for male inmates, though there hasn't been an execution in the state in ten years


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3481019/Former-executioner-San-Quentin-reveals-killed-prisoners-gas-chamber-without-training-claims-never-haunted-him.html

San Quentin state prison has California's only death row for male inmates, though there hasn't been an execution in the state in ten years

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San Quentin State Prison installed a new lethal injection chamber in 2010. The new facility cost $853 to install

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 Post subject: Re: Former San Quentin warden reveals how he killed prisoner
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 3:09 pm 
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This article seems to try to make Vasquez out to be some monster. Then they show a photo of Clarence Ray Allen and his family smiling ear to ear.....forgetting the fact that he was without a doubt responsible for the deaths of two 17 year old girls, an 18 year and a 27 year old....Why the fuck should Vasquez be haunted by disposing of a monster?

The only travesty I see about the story is after a 21 piece KFC meal, 2 Domino's pizzas and a bag of jelly beans, the job of the janitor cleaning the chamber after he loses bowel control may be worse than solitary.

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 Post subject: Re: Former San Quentin warden reveals how he killed prisoner
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 3:13 pm 
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R S wrote:
This article seems to try to make Vasquez out to be some monster. Then they show a photo of Clarence Ray Allen and his family smiling ear to ear.....forgetting the fact that he was without a doubt responsible for the deaths of two 17 year old girls, an 18 year and a 27 year old....Why the fuck should Vasquez be haunted by disposing of a monster?

The only travesty I see about the story is after a 21 piece KFC meal, 2 Domino's pizzas and a bag of jelly beans, the job of the janitor cleaning the chamber after he loses bowel control may be worse than solitary.


That was my first thought also, especially since the execution was postponed 6 hours, time for digestion....

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I'm sure she still wakes up in cold sweats and night terrors of Peyton's wrinkly ball sack pitter-pattering on her forehead.


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 Post subject: Re: Former San Quentin warden reveals how he killed prisoner
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 4:24 pm 
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Damn that's a hell of a last meal.

I also don't have a problem with the warden's philosophy. I'm in agreement. I support killing murderers and the idea of giving them exactly what they gave their victims.

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 Post subject: Re: Former San Quentin warden reveals how he killed prisoner
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 8:28 am 
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CaptainFantastik wrote:
Damn that's a hell of a last meal.

I also don't have a problem with the warden's philosophy. I'm in agreement. I support killing murderers and the idea of giving them exactly what they gave their victims.


I agree 100%, but some of the murders would be hard to replicate.

Not sure how many people would volunteer for rape and torture, although many criminals probably would.


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 Post subject: Re: Former San Quentin warden reveals how he killed prisoner
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 9:58 am 
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Steelcody36 wrote:
CaptainFantastik wrote:
Damn that's a hell of a last meal.

I also don't have a problem with the warden's philosophy. I'm in agreement. I support killing murderers and the idea of giving them exactly what they gave their victims.


I agree 100%, but some of the murders would be hard to replicate.

Not sure how many people would volunteer for rape and torture, although many criminals probably would.



50 yrs into the future and I can see this happening. Broadcasting the event too!


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 Post subject: Re: Former San Quentin warden reveals how he killed prisoner
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 6:45 pm 
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I didn't read word for word because it was long. Seemed the article was trying to paint (spin) a picture that the facts or supporting evidence didn't support.

Keep in mind, California is a state where they will throw your ass in jail or fine you heavily for fishing without a license but coming into the state (country) illegally is not only not punished but often times rewarded with a monthly check, medical care, and voting rights. All for illegal non-citizens.

I live in CA and it's essentially ass backwards on all things common sense.

Let's let vital farm land go barren because we want to protect an inch long "fish" that swims in the delta.

Or, let's continue to pursue a multi-billion dollar bullet train initiative that will get people from SF to LA faster.

Ummm how many people realistically do that commute often enough to burden the tax payers for that nonsense?? I can tell you not enough to support the billions needed to complete that.

Don't even get me started on California's extremely unconstitutional gun laws. Microstamping anyone???

A required mandate that does not actually exist?? California is extremely fucked up politically. Big you live out of CA just assume anything we do is 100% ass backwards from any common sense


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 Post subject: Re: Former San Quentin warden reveals how he killed prisoner
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:12 am 
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CaptainFantastik wrote:
Damn that's a hell of a last meal.

I also don't have a problem with the warden's philosophy. I'm in agreement. I support killing murderers and the idea of giving them exactly what they gave their victims.

I think they should poison their last meal without their knowledge and as they start wiggling on the floor in pain, the murder victims families come into the room with baseball bats while a chorus of Vincent Price laughing tracks rain in the back ground.


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 Post subject: Re: Former San Quentin warden reveals how he killed prisoner
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 7:44 am 
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SteelThrillsseeker wrote:
Steelcody36 wrote:
CaptainFantastik wrote:
Damn that's a hell of a last meal.

I also don't have a problem with the warden's philosophy. I'm in agreement. I support killing murderers and the idea of giving them exactly what they gave their victims.


I agree 100%, but some of the murders would be hard to replicate.

Not sure how many people would volunteer for rape and torture, although many criminals probably would.



50 yrs into the future and I can see this happening. Broadcasting the event too!


With the extreme PC growing in this country, what makes you think this will happen in 50 years?

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 Post subject: Re: Former San Quentin warden reveals how he killed prisoner
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 8:55 am 
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Suwanee88 wrote:
CaptainFantastik wrote:
Damn that's a hell of a last meal.

I also don't have a problem with the warden's philosophy. I'm in agreement. I support killing murderers and the idea of giving them exactly what they gave their victims.

I think they should poison their last meal without their knowledge and as they start wiggling on the floor in pain, the murder victims families come into the room with baseball bats while a chorus of Vincent Price laughing tracks rain in the back ground.



HAHAHAHAHA. This is excellent.

@ RS: maybe it's more of a wish come true. LOL, I'd much rather see vigilante style payback than the PC crowd grow any larger. Fuck the entire PC crowd. They need to shut the fuck up already. Of course they won't but again, I'd be all for an implosion for the entire PC epidemic. Fucking pussies.


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