6 April 1992 – Donald Harding

Donald Harding

A truly gruesome death took place on this day in 1992. Donald Eugene Harding ‘s last few minutes of death were as agonising as imaginable, prompting Arizona to rethink their stance on execution method.

The double murderer had been sentenced to die. He’d been found guilty of killing two men in cold blood, by tying them up, before bashing one about the head with a lamp before planting a bullet in each of their brains at point-blank range, all for money.

Jail break

Following his arrest, Harding managed to break free from jail and a prolific list of robberies began to unfold. Among others, he held up a steakhouse and managed to bag a hefty $83,000 plus jewellery. Harding then went on to kill a man so he could get his hands on his car, while another man had suffocated on a sock rammed into his mouth, after Harding had robbed him.

The authorities finally caught up with the rampaging robber and he was securely banged up for his crimes, which saw him finally sentenced to death in Arizona and sent to the gas chamber.


The 43-year-old had a relatively prolonged death. Cyanide works by preventing oxygen getting into your blood stream, so your vital organs just stop being able to function. Symptoms include seizures, rapid heartbeat and confusion. But Harding was made of stern stuff – he was fully aware of the situation gesturing violently and going into spasm.

Harding managed to hold out for a full 10 minutes before finally succumbing to the fumes. TV reporter Cameron Harper observed that ‘This was a violent death…an ugly event. We put animals to death more humanely’, while another observed that she saw him ‘turn from red to purple’.

The execution left many shaken and shortly after Arizona stopped using cyanide in favour of the lethal injection.

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7 Responses to “6 April 1992 – Donald Harding”

  1. The Hand of Death Says:

    While it may have been gruesome to watch old Donald turn purple,it is noteworthy to remember that this piece of s*** killed,robbed and killed again.Yes he suffered,yes he was “awake” for 10 minutes and yes he has multiple convulsions before he died. I should know, I pulled the lever.

    • Asreyser Says:

      Wow, you are such a pussy. Wait for him to get to hell and he’ll get his. Grow some balls, bitch.

    • We don’t use the death penalty enough…U have the bleeding heart liberals 2 thank 4 that. Bring back the threat of the guillotine…..There would b a LOT LESS crime….if u knew ur head would b chopped off…doncha think?

  2. donald Says:

    im so coo in the future my name is donald harding lol

  3. Daniel W. Merry III Says:

    I was in prison in Arkansas in 1968 and 69 with Donald Eugene (Pee-Wee) Harding. He thought he was a bad-ass but spent most of the time in protective custody or in the “hole”. If the “powers the be” had just put him in the regular population, what happened later, including his “Grand Finale” in Arizona, would have been moot. I’m not a judge and I haven’t signed up for that position and I’m glad because I would have had a hard time finding any mercy for Pee-Wee Harding. I don’t know where he is now, but he is not among the living. It’s just a shame so many innocent people had to suffer and die first…Dan (Way Out).

    • elizabeth curry Says:

      He murdered my husband,Martin ConCannon.I know Marty suffered terribly before he died and Harding had no reason to kill these people.I think he killed six in all.I believe in the death penalty and if the person on death row suffers while they are dying so be it.If you life by the sword you die by the sword.

  4. Jeff Says:

    I knew Don, I was housed in a unit adjacent to death row. We’d become friends. Was he dangerous? Yes Was he deadly? Yes. Did he deserve the death penalty, I’m not God but according to the State, Yes. He always treated me good. He wasn’t a rat or a child molester. That makes him all right in the eyes of a convict. His victims got their pound of flesh. Did it bring them back? No. If Don would have been given a life sentence as opposed to death, he would have killed again.

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