My name is Karla Faye Tucker. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and I am currently one of four women housed on Texas' death row. I'm about to share with you some of the wrong choices I made in my life. I'm sure some of you will be able to relate to some of the areas really well. In sharing this my prayer is that somehow, someway, it will reach out and grab some of you who need a good shaking up and make you step back and examine the road you are choosing to follow. There are extremely hard prices, which will inevitably be paid if you choose to continue taking this road. There's a much better way in life than the way I chose. My choices led me to death row. Just remember, the choice is indeed yours.
Big and bad and not caring about what others thought or felt. That was me - Or so O thought it was, and wanted everybody else to think so too.
Up until the age of about 8 or 9 I led a fairly normal life. I had a mother and father who worked, two older sisters (I was the epitome of the baby BRAT sister!), and a family dog. We lived in a nice house in an upper middle class neighbourhood. We also had a lake house and a boat and we all went as one big, happy family on weekends, holidays, and vacations and had a blast. We had all we needed and most of what we wanted. Things were good, but not for long.
By the time I was 10 years old my parents were divorced and us girls were living with my father. This was hard to deal with, three girls living without there mother, but what made it even worse, was that by the time I was 10 I was also a drug user. At age 7 I started smoking cigarettes; by 8 or 9 I was smoking pot; and, by the ripe old age of 10 I was shooting heroine into my veins - And anything else that was fixable! Now I could try and blame the era, or my parents for divorcing or even my two sisters since, after all, they were the ones I first smoked pot with. But the fact is, I wanted to do the drugs, I chose to do the drugs. This started a downhill fall for me that eventually led me right here to death row.
Now you may be thinking that you do drugs and YOU are not sliding downhill. When you may not realise or recognise it right now but it’s happening. Drugs, alcohol or any other mind-altering substance can either real quickly or over a period of time make a person lose all inhibitions, morals, self-respect, and the list goes on. Believe me, I know!
I wasn't a big kid, but I was a tomboy to the core. For a girl I was very wiry, agile, very competitive, and uncommonly strong. This got me into a lot of trouble along the way. I had a reputation for being able to street fight like a bull, and I was ALWAYS being challenged. I never lost a fight, not with any girls, nor with any guys. I tell you this because due to the drugs I chose to do, a violent streak was induced in me and I seriously hurt many people. I thought fighting was fun, that there was power in being able to use my fists and feet to maul people and hospitalise them. Drugs also caused me to lose all sexual inhibitions and by the time I was 13 I was sexually active with a capital 'A'. I was known as THE ONE to go to if someone needed sex, drugs, or someone whipped upon. I enjoyed having this reputation (also I told myself) and I did all I could to uphold it over the years. I used sex, drugs and violence to be popular, to control other people, and to feel in control of my own life.
At the age of 13 I was also exposed somewhat to the 'underworld'. I became fascinated with their rules, their ethics, and their 'street code of a character'. I wanted to live by this code, these rules. This certainly didn't help the violent, drug abusive person I was becoming. It only added to my demented thought processes. As the years went by, I got kicked out of school over and over again for fighting (even with my teacher), for being high in class and falling asleep, and for other reasons. By the time I was midway into 15 I was through with school for good. I walked out and was never made to go back. I became more and more violent, and got into all kinds of sexual activities. I toured all over the country with a rock band. I've been strung out and kicked more dope habits than I can count! It was a never-ending cycle. I even harboured sick dreams along the way, like becoming a mafia hit woman. SICK!
The whole time I was steadily building up walls around me. I used and abused people to satisfy #1 - myself. If someone got in my way, I didn't hesitate to bulldoze over them. I guess my mother was the only one I ever really let know me, and that wasn't fully. I even had a best friend for 15 years and we were closer than siamese twins. But in retrospect I can also see where I used her to make myself look and feel better. My mother died when I was 19, and it shattered my whole life. She was everything to me and as a result of her death; I turned stone cold to the world and added about 10 more foot to my wall. I had married and when my mother died I left my husband, quit the best job I had ever had, and was ready to hit the world head on and ENJOY. I was free of all men and obligations (or so this was my way of thinking); I had become a high-class call girl and had all the money I thought I needed; no ties to anyone or anything. I thought it couldn’t get any better.. I was in the gutter hurting everyone who knew and loved me, and I didn’t even know it.
Then I met a man I fell in love with, and thought could fulfil all my dreams – even the SICK one. And so we began our trek, as mates and in trying to start a training system to become assassins for the ‘underworld’
Now I don’t know if I really would have become a hit woman, but people let me tell you, because of my choice to do drugs I had indeed lost all inhibitions, morals, scruples, love, self respect, and, as I stated earlier, the list goes on. What it boils down to is this; I made a conscious choice to do these drugs and as a result I did in fact end up helping to take two precious lives. Not as an assassin but that’s beside the point.
I tried blaming my mother for dying on me, I tried blaming drugs, I even tried blaming society. But the simple fact is, I made the choices. We all get to the age of accountability and know right from wrong. We must take responsibility for our own actions!
By the time I was 23 there I sat in the County Jail waiting to be tried for capital murder. It was there, in 1983, that I made another choice – the best choice I have ever made in my whole life. A Christ centered outreach group called Teen Challenge came into the jail and after seeing them I chose to give my life to Jesus Christ! I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour, and my whole life changed for the better! Oh, I still got the death sentence, but that didn’t matter. My personal relationship with Jesus gave me an inner peace and joy I had never felt before. From time to time over the years it gets really, really rough, but Jesus never said it would be easy. In fact, he said there would be tribulation, but not to worry because He overcame the world. In the hard times Jesus promised to give me strength and peace and He has never failed me! There are those that will always doubt my change, but that’s ok too. The only thing that really matter now, is the Jesus knows and I know that I devoted my life to serving Him and saving lives for Him now. Jesus took away my desires and to be sexually promiscuous. He took away the violence in me – I have not had a fight in over 7 years!! That’s says a lot! Jesus has given me a new zeal for educating myself (a very important necessity for life and self confidence!), and I am now in college. After emotionally alienating my family for so many years due to my drug abuse, Jesus helped me tear down my walls, and now my family and I are closer than we have ever been! My whole attitude towards life has changed. I am a new person in Jesus, and although the road has been hard, here I sit, at peace on death row. But believe me it would not be possible without Jesus Christ in my life!
Please realise the choices you make not only affect you, but they affect everyone around you. I pray God will guide all of you and touch your hearts.
In Jesus’ loving name
Karla Faye Tucker
Executed. Feb 3rd 1998.