Fated to Die on the Toilet

When they found Michael Godwin, he was already dead. He was also on the toilet.

We mention the location of his demise because it is relevant to this story, not because we are inclined toward toilet humor (despite what you might think after reading these articles). There’s just no getting around the fact that Godwin met his end departed this mortal coil while seated on the commode. It’s also clear that he did not anticipate his life getting flushed away coming to its close when he sat down to do his business. If he had known what was coming, he probably would have wiped those plans away settled on a different location for the last moments of his life. At the very least, he would have dressed for the occasion. Instead, he was found stark naked, perched on his toilet, with a look of utter astonishment frozen on his face.

Perhaps he shouldn’t have been quite so surprised.

In a way, you could blame television for his untimely death. Possibly, you could blame his neighbors. Still others will tell you that it was fated that this is the way Godwin would die.

Godwin was particularly fond of television. It was his primary way of passing the time, so he had it on during every waking hour. If you needed evidence of his fondness for TV, just ask Godwin’s neighbors. They lost track of how many times they had to ask Godwin to turn down the volume so they could get a little peace.

In Godwin’s defense, he tried to placate his neighbors. He got some headphones to plug into the TV so his neighbors would stop complaining. When the headphones stopped working, Godwin did what he could to fix them so he wouldn’t have to deal with another complaint from the inconvenienced neighbors.

While Godwin’s motives may have been good, his planning left something to be desired. He was working on the headphones while seated on his toilet. Apparently needing to free his hands for other purposes, Godwin moved the headphone cord from his hands to his mouth. When the bare wire made contact with his mouth, it closed a circuit and sent a fatal jolt of electricity through Godwin’s body, which was grounded upon the metal toilet. He was dead before he knew what hit him.

Authorities ruled that Godwin’s death was caused by accidental electrocution. One cannot help but wonder if it really was accidental. There are some who would tell you that it was supposed to happen.

Godwin had so much free time because he didn’t have many other options. He was an inmate in South Carolina’s Central Correctional Institution. He had been convicted of raping Mary Elizabeth Royem and then murdering her by beating her to death with an electric iron. The court sentenced him to death in the electric chair.

Godwin appealed his conviction and got a new trial. In the second trial, he was again found guilty of murder, but he was acquitted of the sexual assault. His sentence this time was life imprisonment.

Michael Godwin thought he had successfully avoided the electric chair. Some fates are simply unavoidable.

In other words, when you gotta go, you gotta go.


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