We never did get along too good, he says of his mother. It’s something of an understatement, considering he shot her point blank in the head.

He smokes a cigarette, brushes his hair from his eyes. Looks at his shoe, wipes away something real, or imagined. All of this he does with fluidity and ease, considering he is handcuffed.

His name is Steve, but here he is known as #53754098. He tilts his head a bit to smoke. To work around the handcuffs. It is an easy movement, and natural. Considering.

He is on death row, Steve has killed four people. His mother was the first. He shot her in the head, and threw her body in a nearby river. After he was in prison, he murdered two of his fellow inmates. His fourth victim was a prison counselor. He stabbed the man more than fifty times.

He talks about that crime, about that murder, as easily as anything else. I’ve seen guys, he says, stabbed fifteen, twenty times, get up and walk away. My philosophy’s always been, if you put enough holes in ‘em, they can’t plug ‘em all up.

He makes eye contact. He tells his story calmly. He is easy. Relaxed. Which is understandable, considering he has no remorse.

Anyone, he says, who commits first-degree, premeditated murder and tells you they have remorse, they are a liar. How can you have remorse for something you intended to do.

Remorse. He chuckles. It is not even worth considering.

When he was ten, his parents divorced. He wipes his eye with the back of his hand. This he does not say easily. 

One day Steve came home from school and his mother was waiting for him. Your daddy’s dead, she told him. I’m puttin’ you on a bus

Steve’s father committed suicide. His mother bought him a bus ticket and sent him to the funeral. Steve had just turned twelve

You put enough holes in ‘em. They can’t plug ‘em all up.

It’s something of an understatement. Considering.