Former Texas prison cook offers to make 'last meals' for free
A former Texas inmate who cooked the so-called last meals for hundreds of death row inmates has offered to donate his services rather than allow condemned prisoners to do without their last meal of choice.
Last week, Texas officials announced that they were ending the practice of allowing prisoners to request special last meals. The decision came after a state lawmaker complained that an inmate had manipulated the system before his execution by requesting a large amount of food -- that he then refused to eat.
Starting this week, death row inmates will receive the same meals as other inmates, prison officials said.
Brian Price, a longtime prison cook, told the Associated Press on Monday that the move by prison officials was "cold-hearted."
"I am offering to prepare, and/or pay for, all of the last-meal requests from this day forward," he told the Associated Press. "Taxpayers will be out nothing."
Price made 220 final meals, beginning in 1991, while doing time for a pair of convictions related to the abduction of his brother-in-law and a sexual assault on his ex-wife. After his release in 2003, Price wrote a cookbook about his days at the Huntsville Unit called "Meals to Die For." He now runs a restaurant at Houston County Lake in East Texas. He could not be reached by phone late Monday.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman Michelle Lyons called Price's proposal "a kind offer" that the state did not intend to accept.
-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston
Photo: Brian Price in the kitchen of the Texas prison in Huntsville in 2000. Credit: Richard Nira / Huntsville Item