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08/06/2012 / Chika Dunu

Batman, Sprinkles and Death Row

Rainbow sprinkles tends to make people smile, but don’t expect a smile on the face of Wade Burnham. It makes him kill. So for his last meal, he prefers a Little Debbie ™ brownie with walnuts on it along with chicken parmesan and a cherry coke.

Wade Burnham sits on death row at the Rick Perry Penal Institute and is expected to die tomorrow by lethal injection but there is no anxiety. “I am not scared of death. I’ve lived the right way. I’m in peace; the maker is calling and home is in heaven,” he explains. Lived the right is laughable depending on you ask, but to many that would be a great exaggeration for the man who is guilty of killing 14 prostitutes.

Born in Midland, Texas to an absentee dad and a mother, who later turned out to be his sister, a “twisted childhood” is the best Burnham can describe it. A loner and constantly ridiculed in school for being cross-eyed, he dropped out at 15, married at 19 and divorced six months later. A Vietnam veteran who was dishonorably charged under special circumstances, including smearing his semen on the face of higher officials sees nothing wrong with his actions. “In my judgment everything is justified,” he says.

Judgment is right and for his actions he’s spent the majority of his adult life in prison. Burnham’s first murder (which he refers to as a calling to rid the world of prostitutes and diseases), though nervous was captivated watching the life rush out of his victim. He didn’t stop there, murdering 14 night-walkers in the states of Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. “It’s like peeling an orange. It gets easier as you go.” After each murder, he obtained trinkets of body parts storing them in his refrigerator. For him it was a daily reminder to fulfill his life purpose. “The skull was motivation,” he says nonchalantly. “Prostitution symbolizes everything wrong with humanity. I did the world a favor.”

It can be said the imprisonment of Burnham is the real favor to the world, but who’s to say. Clad in an orange jumpsuit and with his hands clasped together bonded with metal handcuffs, Burnham shows a tint of vulnerability. “Jail’s been difficult. I really have no friends in here,” he admits, his pupils contracting. “But for the last five years, it’s been peaceful. I read; I’m a big fan of Batman™.” He also maintains internal peace by not smoking or drinking.

Tomorrow Wade Burnham will “walk with angels,” but today he shuffles with correction officers back to the cell he consumes for 23 hours a day. The hunch in his back and the gray in his hair indicate his age and perhaps time spent in solitary confinement. Referencing Batman, he understands that the city calls for his death and he’s fine with that because “God calls on him.”

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