8 February 1924 – Gee Jon

Gee JonNevada State failed in an attempt to execute by stealth. They had tried to kill their first gas chamber recipient by piping cyanide into his cell as he was sleeping. But they didn’t bank on the gas leaking out.

So they were forced to build a chamber and re-execute Gee Jon, a Chinese gangster and the first person to be sentenced to die in this way.

San Fran gang wars

Born in China, Jon was based in San Francisco’s Chinatown for most of his life. It was there that he became embroiled in the Hop Sing Tong gang and consequently came across his victim, who was a member of a rival gang. Jon was found guilty of murdering Tom Quong Kee in his capacity as a member of a Triad-style gang.

He was sentenced to die by gas poisoning and the 29-year-old was finally sent to the specially constructed chamber, where sodium cyanide crystals were released into a bucket containing sulphuric acid. The resultant hydrogen cyanide caused the brain to be starved of oxygen, with a good chance of painful burning and eye-popping side-effects along the way.

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