As his attorney worked on last-minute appeals to save him from an execution, Texas death row inmate Michael DeWayne Johnson slashed his throat with a makeshift knife and used his blood to write a final message on the wall of his cell: “I did not shoot him,” reports the Houston Chronicle. Johnson, 29, condemned for the 1995 robbery-murder of a convenience-store clerk, had given no indication he planned to take his own life.
Johnson steadfastly maintained his innocence in prison interviews. Johnson’s attorney, Greg White, was preparing a last appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, arguing that the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure prohibits torturing or inflicting unnecessary pain on prisoners. “Gosh, don’t worry about the Eighth Amendment; we have Texas law that addresses the issue,” White said. “No court has ever interpreted that statute.” White said he had gathered evidence indicating the three drugs used in Texas executions can cause excruciating pain.