Brett Hartmann, One of Our Death Row Correspondents, Has Been ExecutedS

Earlier this year, we published several letters from American death row inmates who were scheduled for execution in 2012. Two of those letters were from Brett Hartmann, Ohio inmate 357-869. Yesterday, he was executed by lethal injection.

Hartmann (sometimes spelled "Hartman") was convicted of the brutal 1997 knife murder of Winda Snipes in Akron, Ohio. He maintained his innocence to the end. (We make no claims either way. A good story on the case can be found here.) He was pronounced dead at 10:34 a.m. yesterday. His final words were, "I'm good, let's roll."

You can read Hartmann's two letters to us, in which he reflected on his own life and America's justice system, here and here. A small excerpt:

People change, after 15 years you are no longer executing the same person that committed the crime. A fair sentence for murder? Personally I believe if you have not done at least some time in prison and experienced the hell that prison is you should not get to say what is an appropriate sentence for anything. We claim we are a nation of second chances yet we hate giving them! [...]

I believe execution just is not the answer, as humans we are prone to mistakes and execution is a mistake you cannot undo.

That is my biggest, one of them, fears, once I am executed I will go down in history as a murderer no one in history wants to go down in history as something they are not. If executed I would love for someone to continue working to prove my innocence- the day after my last scheduled execution I got a letter that I might have a daughter, one of my biggest regrets was never having had kids, so it is a big deal to me, last night I got to talk to her on the phone for the first time- you can't imagine how nervous I was! If she is my daughter I would want her to know that her father is not a killer! Honestly the only people I want to prove it to are my family and immediate friends, they all believe I am innocent but I would like to be able to prove it. The only people my legacy would truly matter to are them anyway.

[Letters from Brett Hartmann. Image by Jim Cooke.]