A Review on Time Perception of Death Row Inmates' Denials in Their Last Statements in the Context of Forensic Linguistics: The Sample of Texas Huntsville Unit


OMEGA-JOURNAL OF DEATH AND DYING, vol.77, no.4, pp.350-363, 2018 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 77 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0030222816674733
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.350-363
  • Keywords: death attitudes, denial, time perception, death row inmates, last statement, BEHAVIOR
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


This study aims to find out the time perception used in the denials in the last statements of 70 death row inmates, who were executed in Texas Huntsville Unit between 1982 and 2016. To accomplish this, the tenses in their last statements were specified, and their distribution was demonstrated on a horizontal timeline. Document analysis, which is one of the qualitative research methods, was utilized as the data collection tool of the study. The main data obtained from the results of the study suggest that the following 429 death row inmates out of 537 used their right for the last statement; however, 108 of them did not state anything. A total of 70 of the 429 death row inmates denied the crimes, of which they were convicted with execution, in their last statements. When the age range is taken into consideration, it is clear that the distribution of simple tenses and the distribution of compound tenses are very close to each other. The simple tense is used the least by the 60 to 70 age-group, whereas it is mostly used by 20 to 30 age-group. Considering their education level in addition to their age range, it is observed that the highest education level is that of the 60 to 70 age-group. The most frequently used tense in the last statements of death row inmates is simple tense; however, simple present tense is used as the most common tense overall. As the timeline progresses toward the future, expectations and affirmation exist in the meaning of the sentences.