On this date in 1989, Sean Patrick Flanagan was executed for murdering two gay men in Nevada.
The ex-Marine been picked up for jaywalking in California, when he went and confessed to the slightly more problematic offense of murder. This is why you should never say anything to police when arrested.
But Flanagan had a whole confessional, expiation thing going on. Besides admitting to strangling two older men with “the thought that I would be doing some good for our society,” he dropped his appeals and volunteered for execution.
I’m just as wicked and nasty as Ted Bundy. I believe if I had not been arrested, I would have ended up being another Ted Bundy against homosexuals.
As is so often the case, the hatred that drove Flanagan to murder was actually directed inward — since the killer himself was also gay. Characterizing his own execution as “proper and just” and staying nose-deep in the Bible until injection time was all part of his uncertain journey of redeeming or defining or accepting himself.
The subsequent headlines were all about how Flanagan checked out of this world telling prosecutor and execution witness Dan Seaton, “I love you.”
“‘He means it in terms of Christian love and forgiveness,” Seaton explained later. No gay stuff.