MISSISSIPPI: Death on Wheels

Jimmy Thompson is a ruddy, polite little man of 47, whose body is tattooed from clavicle to toe with black cats, snakes and strawberries. He is official executioner for the State of Mississippi, pulls the switches of the only portable electric chair in the world: a new $4,000 contraption on a truck with portable generator, chair, helmet, straps and electrodes. Last week Jimmy and his driver drove their silver-painted exterminator to the Pike County jail. Just before dawn Jimmy dispatched his 14th "client" — one Sam Porter who had slashed a throat too deeply and who, as he sat...

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