Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 41 years, 2,189 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Fall TV Preview: The 18 Hottest New Shows You Need to Watch
- Read the Cover Story: Meet the American Heroes Who Stopped French Train Attack
- Fall TV Preview: 8 Returning Shows We're Dying to See Again
- Check Out Zayn Malik's Sexy (Shirtless!) Magazine Cover
- Atlanta Officer Critically Injured After Responding to Wrong Home
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- April 09, 1979
- Vol. 11
- No. 14
In the Shadow of the Chair, Killer John Evans Plans to Seek No Reprieve from Death
Pausing in his reminiscence, the 29-year-old killer glances through a window in the Alabama prison interview room toward the yellow electric chair in which he was scheduled to die April 6. "Oh yeah," he nods with a laugh. "Ol' Sparky. The chair."
Should he be electrocuted without further delay, Evans will be the first man to be executed in the U.S. since Gary Gilmore died before a firing squad in Utah on Jan. 17, 1977. It is a prospect he professes to welcome, and he has instructed his lawyers to halt any efforts to win him a stay. "I don't want to spend the rest of my life in jail," Evans explains. "Not even 10 years. Dying, to me, is going to be the easy part. I've been flirting with death all my life."
Evans' arrest by the FBI, in March of 1977, ended a binge of stickups that he and his prison partner, Wayne Ritter, had planned as their "last crime spree. It was a deadly game you play with the police. We knew we would be caught," says Evans. "We've got nine kidnappings, two extortions, 37 armed robberies," he continues. "We would never have gotten out of prison, not with all that hanging over us. We figured up one time that we were facing a minimum of 2,500 years—seven life-without-parole sentences! So I decided to go for the death penalty all the way." Evans and Ritter laughed at their sentencing, and vowed if they were ever released that they would come back and murder the jurors. (Ritter, however, since has appealed his conviction to the Alabama supreme court and is in no immediate danger of execution.)
As Evans awaits the death he has courted so eagerly, he shows little patience with those who would plumb his murderer's psyche. "I come from a superloving family," says Evans, a onetime Boy Scout and altar boy. "I was never abused. I was just a rotten kid. People say there's no such thing, but I proved there is." In grammar school in Beaumont, Texas, Evans adds, he began "swiping little things" to see if he could get away with it. Ultimately he graduated to car theft and armed robbery—but never, he says, with any intention of hurting people.
"There's no real tough guy here," Evans insists. "They can go find their John Dillinger someplace else." He regrets only that he must die by electrocution instead of by lethal injection. That, he insists, would be "the most humane way—and it would also make an inmate able to donate his vital organs. I had one lady from Honolulu ask me for my eyes when I'm executed. But they're not going to be any good, because in electrocution organs are destroyed. That's sad, a waste."
Otherwise, he regards it as the ultimate release. "I have lived a vile life around vile people," he explains. "I've seen guys die slow and horrible. What are you going to do in jail? Cut your wrist? Use a sheet for a rope and hang yourself? Naw, that's a hard way to die. You sit there in that chair, and it's 2,500 volts. You never know what hits you. But I'm a coward. I want to go quick."
September 01, 2015
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!