A week after his execution, the Georgia Department of Corrections has released the final recorded statement of Willie Pye. Pye was put to death on March 20 for the murder and rape of Alicia Yarbrough in the 1990s.

You can listen to Pye's words in their entirety here.

Georgia is rare among states in making recordings of death row inmates near the time of their executions. As a public record, the tapes are available to anyone.

GPB requested this recording, made the same day as the execution, while Pye was still alive and the Supreme Court had not yet decided whether to grant Pye a stay. 

Pye's attorneys, none of whom were present for this recording, had argued he suffered from a mental disability which made it illegal under state law for him to be executed. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles was not swayed by that argument and denied Pye clemency. 

Pye spends most of the recording reeling off names to Georgia Department of Corrections employees to whom he said he became grateful during his time incarcerated at Georgia’s death row at Georgia Diagnostic Prison in Jackson.

When the pronunciation of a name stumps him in the recording, he appeals to others in the cell for help. In at least one instance, Pye appears to be prompted by an official to repeat the name of a jailer. It’s unclear if that was part of an effort to help Pye thank everyone he wanted to thank or something else.

“The whole staff in Jackson prison, everyone has been very nice to me,” Pye said. “I ate like a dog on Death Watch. I slept good. I never shed a tear — although I'm remorseful for everything that happened — but the staff here made everything so easy for me."

Pye went on to thank by name a childhood friend, Eddie Roberts, who would go on to honor Pye’s request to witness the execution.

"I'm so at peace," Pye said near the end of the recording. "Whatever go on, whatever happen, I'm at peace."

The Georgia Department of Corrections declined to identify any of the apparently many people in the cell with Pye during this recording, either by name or job description. None present were attorneys for Pye. 

Pye was the first person executed in Georgia since the COVID-19 pandemic inspired an execution moratorium in the state.