Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

TIL: The first woman ever executed in the USA was pregnant

In 1778, Bathsheba Spooner earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first woman executed in the newly independent country called the United States of America. Before she was to be hanged, Bathsheba begged to be allowed to live long enough to deliver her baby. However, a panel of evaluators determined that she was not pregnant.

Slideshow: Cruel & unusual punishment

Ten of the most brutal methods of execution and torture used throughout history.

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.

Carnival of death: The barbaric history of lynching in America

An examination of this brutal form of mob justice, in which angry citizens assume the role of judge, jury and executioner.

Today in Crime History: First man sentenced to death by electrocution

William Kemmler, having been convicted of drunkenly killing his girlfriend with an ax, was sentenced on May 13, 1889, to become the first person to die in the electric chair. After attempts to thwart the execution on the basis of it being “cruel and unusual punishment” were defeated, Kemmler was executed under what the New York Times called “revolting circumstances.”

Today in Crime History: Notorious serial killer H.H. Holmes is hanged

On May 7, 1896, serial killer H.H. Holmes was hanged. Even at the noose, he changed his story stating that he only killed two people although he’d previously confessed to 27. The trapdoor under his feet opened at 10:13 a.m. and H.H. Holmes met his end.

The gruesome history of the guillotine

Contrary to myth, Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin did not invent the decapitation instrument that bears his name. Decapitation machines were used long before he was born.

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.

Slideshow: Women executed in America

Though it’s unusual for a woman to be sentenced to death and even more unusual for execution to be carried out on a woman, it does happen. Fifteen women who have been sentenced to death and executed in the United States, from 1955 to 2010.

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