November 14, 2010
Michael Anderson Godwin was convicted of a 1978 murder and sexual assault in South Carolina. He was charged with committing the crime while on work release from prison, where he was serving time for an earlier robbery conviction.
In the murder-sexual assault case the 28-year-old inmate was sentenced to die in the electric chair — the method of execution at that time. But in 1981 he was found not guilty of the sexual assault part of the charge, so the death penalty was reduced to life in prison.
Sitting in his cell at CCI (Central Correctional Institution), in Columbia, in 1981, Godwin is permitted to have a small television set but prison officials prohibit the use of speakers — only earphones are allowed.
Godwin’s earphones are not working, so he decides to repair them. Now, picture Godwin sitting on the metal toilet in his cell — naked. Never mind, I’d rather not picture that scene either.
Godwin needs to connect the speaker wires to two terminals inside the television set — he’s not sure which terminals.
First he needs to strip the insulation from the earphone wires, but he has no electrician tools. Improvising, he bites the insulation with his teeth and strips the insulation. That works. Next Godwin searches for the proper terminal inside the back of the television set.
Remember, Godwin is naked as a Jay bird, sitting on a metal toilet seat, playing with electrical wires. You guessed it! He finds a terminal, but it’s high voltage. Michael Godwin is electrocuted by his own hand.
This year Godwin placed number five in the “Darwin Awards.” For those of you unfamiliar with these awards, they are named in honor of the famous scientist, Charles Darwin, noted for his “theory of evolution.” The awards recognize those who improve the human gene pool by removing themselves from it -- permanently! The Award is generally bestowed posthumously, as in Michael Godwin’s case.
Posted by Bob Ford at 11/14/2010