Tennessee’s death row cam

Recent Must Reads

12/5 – Racial profiling goes global

12/2 – Stock options for the poor

12/1 – Barbara Walters, soup shill

11/29 – Cheney’s ties to Iraq

Tennessee residents no longer have to head to the video store to see a Dead Man Walking: The Department of Corrections is providing them with bona fide footage of a real-life death row prisoner only moments before his execution.

In April, the state put to death Robert Glen Coe, the first person to be executed there in 40 years. Corrections officials videotaped the preliminary events to document exactly what happens leading up to an execution. Journalists then sued to gain access to the video — successfully — claiming it was a public record.

The FREEDOM FORUM reports that department officials edited out most of the video to preserve the anonymity of the other people involved in the execution. Still, the document captures a glimpse of Coe shortly before his death, and some of his last words are audible on the tape. The article points out that the video represents both the “danger of sensationalism and the value of informing the public.”


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.