Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The lethal history of the gas chamber

It is difficult to find a way to deliberately put a human being to death that modern Americans can agree is “humane.” Perhaps for this reason, methods of execution have repeatedly been invented that were touted as humane only to later be criticized as inhumane. Here, we investigate the rise and fall of the gas chamber’s popularity as a method of shipping the condemned off to the afterlife.

What is the deal with executions lately?

In the wake of three controversial executions carried out in the last 24 hours, Crime Library presents the basic facts regarding lethal-injection drugs, the controversy surrounding their use and the executioners’ search for the perfect pharmaceutical execution.

What does a botched electric chair execution look like?

It’s not pretty, that’s for sure. In 1999 convicted murderer Allen Lee Davis became the first and last inmate to be executed in Florida’s brand new electric chair, intended to replace the notoriously malfunctioning “Old Sparky.” Warning: This post contains disturbing photographs.

Slideshow: Last Meals Before Execution

Death row inmates are allowed a special last meal request before execution. Here’s what some of them ordered.

Help Wanted: Hangman in Sri Lanka

The prisons department of Sri Lanka is seeking a dynamic individual to fill the position of Hangman. It seems that out of 176 applicants for the position last year, the top-two, who were hired, just stopped showing up for work, and the last guy took one look at the gallows and got so upset he quit.

State having trouble obtaining execution drugs

Missouri is having a hard time getting the drugs it needs to execute Joseph Franklin, a pretty miserable serial killer. Drug manufacturers have effectively cut off the state so it has turned to making its own concoction.

Slideshow: Women executed in America

Fifteen women who have been sentenced to death and executed in the United States, from 1955 to 2010. After yesterday’s verdict, the nation wants to know: Will Jodi Arias be joining their ranks?

When a Condemned Criminal Chooses His Own Death

There aren’t many decisions that a death row inmate can make. In some cases, however, a condemned criminal is allowed to make the ultimate choice: how he will die.

VIDEO: Chinese Talk Show Interviews Prisoners Before Execution

In China, a person can be sentenced to death for crimes ranging from theft, to drug offenses, to murder. In a show that aired weekly on the Henan Legal Channel for six years, host Ding Yu conducted interviews with condemned criminals preparing to be executed for murder. Below is a segment from BBC’s This World focusing on the Chinese show, titled simply Interviews Before Execution.

VIDEO: Convicted Killers Break Down at Sentencing

Two women throw themselves to the floor after receiving life sentences for abusing to death a 3-year-old girl. A 19-year-old killer flies into a rage after being sentenced to death for the rape and execution-style killing of a young woman.

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