The only two women on Maryland's death row have asked to have their court appeals dropped so that their executions can take place as soon as possible.
In letters to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and others, Doris Ann Foster and Annette L. Stebbing said they would rather die in Maryland's gas chamber than remain in "inhumane living conditions" at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women at Jessup.
The women sent copies of the six-paragraph letter to The Baltimore Evening Sun, to their lawyers, and to the Maryland Court of Appeals, which automatically reviews all death sentences.
"I'm dead serious about this," Stebbing said. "People out in the street don't understand what people on death row and people in on big time go through. It's frustrating. If you were in prison, you would understand what it is to be locked up like a dog."
Foster's letter reiterates her statements for several years that execution was preferable to staying in prison.
Stebbing, 24, was convicted in 1981 for the murder of Dena M. Polis of Essex, whose body was found stuffed into a Baltimore sewer. Her husband, Bernard L. Stebbing, was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the murder.
Foster, 40, was convicted in February 1982 of stabbing hotel owner Josephine Dietrich, 71, to death with a screwdriver during a robbery at a motel in North East, Md.