This is the third installment of the Last Meals series from Historydojo. Please find the previous installment here, or start reading from the first installment here.
The last meal of John Baltazar doesn’t say much about him at first glance, but there may be something poetic about it upon retrospection.
His crime is described as follows:
“On 27 September 1997, Baltazar, then 25, and Johnny Gonzales went to the home of Arturo and Matilda Marines. Baltazar went to the house because Matilda’s brother, Narciso “Ted” Cuellar, lived there, and Cuellar had allegedly beaten Baltazar’s mother earlier that day.
Baltazar kicked down the door and fired multiple gunshots at the couch where Cuellar usually slept. Cuellar, however was not home. Instead, the shots struck the Marines’ 5-year-old daughter, Adriana, and her 11-year-old cousin, Vanessa, who were on the couch, watching “Sleeping Beauty” on television.
Vanessa was struck once in the chest and survived. Adriana was killed by two shots to her head.” (From Texas Execution Information Center)
The revenge for the attack on his mother would appear to have created a break in Balthazar. He was avenging his mother and lost all sense of reality. This would appear to be a moment when someone was temporarily insane.
Balthazar had been released from prison not long before the killing. He had served three years of an eight year sentence for burglary, and was released just nine weeks before the terrible murders.
Prison has been known to have a detrimental effect on those inside, often increasing the anger and violence of non-violent offenders. In the rage following the attack on his mother, it is possible to imagine that Balthazar lost control and reverted to prison rules of violence. It may seem logical, considering that he had not been violent before this.
Perhaps he had time in prison to consider his crime. It is often said that time behind bars gives someone a lot to think about. Maybe Balthazar looked back at his crime during the many years he sat waiting for his execution and realized what a terrible waste it was. He threw away his life and the life of eleven year old Adriana.
His last meal would seem to reflect a life wasted and unfulfilling. He did not choose to eat a meal that would leave anyone satisfied. Maybe he wasn’t satisfied, and only wanted to taste something that would make him happy in the moment. It would seem that his life did not amount to much, and perhaps small moments of happiness was all he had.
Executed January 15, 2003, the last meal request of John Balthazar was, “Cool whip and cherries.”
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Source:Russ Kick, Book of Lists, 2004, The Disinformation Company, LTD.