He wants his lower right leg to be shaved and also his head. He wants to have a metal cap strapped onto his head and an electrode strapped to the shaved part of his leg. He wants to have a strap across his chest and a couple more holding down his arms. And then he wants some designated killer to flip a switch or press a button or whatever they do there in the Old Dominion State in order to get the electricity flowing.
He could have chosen to be tied down to a gurney or a table or whatever they use and have the killers pump poison into him, but he figures that'll hurt more. So the chair it is. His choice.
Just as it's been his choice to be killed.
I'm not going to write at length about the stories. I've parsed them in some detail here and here and here.
Gleason was doing LWOP in maximum security for the May 8, 2007 murder of Michael Kent Jamerson when, on May 8, 2009* he killed Harvey Watson, his cellmate. He'd begged the guards to move Watson, but they wouldn't. So while the guards were off abusing some prisoner or masturbating or shooting dice or maybe betting on how long it would take or whatever, they screwed up the count and didn't notice that Watson had been bound, gagged, beaten and strangled until 15 hours later. And then when he was going to be tried he insisted on a plea and begged for death warning everyone that if they didn't order him killed, he'd choose to kill again.
Gleason was due to be sentenced on August 31, 2010. But just to make sure, to prove that he'd carry out his threat, on July 28 he slipped torn strips of a towel through a chain-link-fenced wall of an exercise cage at the Mother State's supermax prison and strangle Aaron Alexander Cooper who was exercising in the next cage. Despite security camera and a watchtower, Cooper was dead for an hour before anyone apparently noticed. Since, I suppose, the prison guards who should have been watching were apparently off abusing some other prisoners or masturbating or shooting dice or maybe betting on how long it would take Cooper to die.
And now it's Gleason's time.
Not that long as these things go, but this is Virginia where the timeline tends to be particularly swift and of course it gets helped along when the guy they want to kill insists that he wants to be killed. And that if they take their time, he''ll keep killing.
While the guards keep abusing some prisoner or masturbating or shooting dice or maybe betting on how long it will take the next guy to die or whatever.
They're going to kill him Wednesday. The judge said he won't stop it. The governor said he won't stop it. Gleason, of course, doesn't want them to stop it.
One of Gleason's former lawyers says that Gleason once told him he didn't want to die. Maybe. But he's told an awful lot of people, including judges and jurors, and as recently as last week, that he wants to be killed.
I suppose it will happen. Unless the prison guards are too busy abusing some prisoner or masturbating or shooting dice or maybe betting on how long it will take to remember to pull the switch.
Because here's the dirty secret nobody's talking about. If the prison guards at Virginia's maximum and supermaximum prisons actually did their jobs, Harvey Watson and Aaron Cooper would never have been murdered. And Gleason would be punished in a way he didn't want - by serving out his sentence of death in prison.
According to Sarah Favot, in the Lowell Sun (Gleason's from Lowell), his family has already arranged for a paid obit in the Sun on Thursday.
Gleason's best attribute was the love he had for his family, according to the obituary. Gleason will leave behind four children and two grandchildren.What the obit presumably won't say is that he'll also leave behind a couple of dead men because the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia would rather be in the business of killing people like Gleason than of running their prisons competently.
*Really, two years to the day later.