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.
Serial killer Elroy Chester of Port Arthur, Texas, scheduled to die today for the murders of five people, has asked a judge to stop his execution and reduce his sentence to life in prison because, his lawyers argue, one judge showed bias against him.
On January 23, 1989, the eve of his execution, serial killer Ted Bundy discusses at length his crimes, his childhood and his impending death in Florida’s electric chair.
William Van Poyck’s execution is days away and there’s little chance for a stay. Throughout his 25 years on death row, he’s been writing to his sister Lisa, who has dutifully documented his letters on a blog. Read the condemned prisoner’s impressions of life on death row and his thoughts as his final day on earth approaches.
An examination of this brutal form of mob justice, in which angry citizens assume the role of judge, jury and executioner.
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.”
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 state of Ohio bid good riddance yesterday to Steven Smith, who was executed by lethal injection at the state prison in Lucasville. Smith was convicted of killing his live-in girlfriend’s daughter, 6-month-old Autumn Carter, while he was raping her.
Here at Crime Library, we’ve been collecting the final words of death row prisoners since the beginning. Many proclaim their innocence, some apologize to their victims, others pray and a few just wish for their favorite team to win the big game. Convicted killer Richard Cobb, however, surprised everyone with what he said when the lethal cocktail began coursing through his veins last Thursday.
In January 1977, Gary Gilmore became the first person executed in America since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. His desire to die brought him significant attention and earned him a place in pop culture history.