Archive for June, 2008

30 June 1934 – Edmund Heines

Posted in Death penalty, Shot with tags , , , on June 30 by Last Writes

Edmund HeinesDeputy to one of Hitler’s henchmen, Edmund Heines was to be picked out as one of 78 key targets in the now infamous ‘Night of the Long Knives’.

They were executed in Nazi Germany by their would-be peers, and this was seen as a purge within the party. It targeted key individuals, who were in conflict with the direction in which the Nazis were headed, namely the stormtroopers – aka the ‘Brownshirts’ or to give them their posh name, Sturmabteilung (SA for short).

Brand new heavies

Far from posh, the stormtroopers had literally been the brawn of the operation up to that point – they’d done all the dirty jobs. A paramilitary group, they were a bunch of thugs tasked with setting the pace of the rise of Nazism.

They paved the way for Hitler’s path to power, violently clashing with socialist groups and getting shot of the opposition. But they were uncouth and their tactics not subtle – Hitler was after a more underhand approach to see him into the next phase of his ascension. And so the sinister SS was born.

Fiends means Heines

Now, the Nazis had two groups, one of which had served its useful purpose. The problem was the SA was headed up by one of Hitler’s mates, Ernst Julius Röhm, of whom Heines was his fiendish deputy.

You know Hitler well enough to know that the Führer wouldn’t let a simple thing like friendship get in the way of world domination. This was compounded by a dodgy dossier, which was drawn up on the unsuspecting SA leader. It pretty much stitched Röhm up, ensuring that Hitler eventually bowed to peer pressure to oust him.

Hatchet job

The SA’s fate was sealed especially after advisors played on Hitler’s insecurities, bigging up the fact that he was vulnerable while these thugs were on the loose. After all, the group’s numbers were into the thousands, although, according to Röhm himself, that number may have been closer to three million.

Allegedly 61 key members were executed in a hush-hush operation, including 36-year-old Heines, while 13 were shot during the brutal round-up and three had committed suicide. However, some sources put the toll at 400.

Out of the can

Apparently Heines was having it away with unidentified 18-year-old man when he was caught in the sting, according to ‘Spartacus Educational’. Hitler himself was there and according to his chauffeur, the leader shouted ‘Heines, if you are not dressed in five minutes I’ll have you shot on the spot!’ He joined the ranks of the people executed by a single gunshot, likewise his boss, but more of Röhm next month…

Hitler only let the secret mission out of the can after the deed was done and the SA leaders had been obliterated.

As for the SA, Hitler took over as leader and the organisation stayed in existence until the close of the Second World War.

Also on this day

30 June 1936 – Frederick Herbert Field

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30 June 1936 – Frederick Herbert Field

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , on June 30 by Last Writes

Maybe Frederick Herbert Field would have got away with his killer tendencies, if avarice hadn’t got the better of him.

By day he came across as harmless – merely fixing signs around London. But that masked a murderer who had a predilection for targeting women.


One of his victims could have been a prostitute by the name of Norah, aka Annie Louisa Upchurch, whose 20-year-old body was found next to a shop. Just the day before, Field had been tasked with taking down the ‘To let’ sign at the very same shop.

With little or no evidence to go on, the coroners left the verdict open, but just under two years later, Field swanned into a newspaper office and shopped himself – admitting the crime of how he’d lured Upchurch into the shop, killed her and made off with her handbag.

The story went to the police, but he bottled it when he went to trial – and in the absence of any hard evidence plus a retracted statement, there was nothing more to go on.

Money talks

What was in for him? Money, that’s what. He was hoping to get a nice payout from the paper for an exclusive. At least, that’s how it came across in court, so he was let off.

A couple of years later and he was back in custody, this time for going AWOL while in the Royal Air Force. The fiendish felon used the opportunity to confess to another random killing – this time a widow in Clapham, by the name of Beatrice Vilna Sutton. But this time he really did stitch himself up, because he let out secrets that only the killer could have known. They had him by the short and curlies now and a guilty verdict was a fait accompli.

He was sentenced to death and it was carried out at Wandsworth Prison on this day in 1936, when he was 32 years old.

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29 June 1961 – Zsiga Pankotia

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , on June 29 by Last Writes

In the twilight of British execution history, Leeds hit a milestone today in 1961.

Armley Gaol executed its final prisoner on this day. His name was Zsiga Pankotia and he was a Hungarian, who actually committed murder mid-robbery.


He was sent to the gallows for breaking into the house of Eli Myres and killing him in cold blood. The crime took place in the monied area of Roundhay, and the victim, who was a rich market-stall holder, was stabbed to death, when he caught Pankotia pilfering his prized possessions.

The 31-year-old was sentenced to death and the execution was carried out by Harry Allen amid controversy – political attitudes were changing and hanging was seriously frowned upon.

Just four years later, executions ceased to be doled out as a form of punishment in Britain and it ceased to be a form of punishment in 1969, save for a handful of crimes, such as piracy, spying and treason. However, these have since been commuted to lesser crimes too.

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28 June 2006 – Sedley Alley

Posted in Death penalty, Lethal injection with tags , , , , on June 28 by Last Writes

Sedley Alley The sheer animal violence of our next crime is enough to make you heave. Sedley Alley was executed in Tennessee for kidnap, rape and murder of the most depraved kind. But did he do it?

Frenzied attack

The crime was evil incarnate – not only was the 19-year-old victim beaten viciously, but she was struck about the head with a screwdriver, strangled and raped.

A tree branch was used to violate her again, which tore upwards into her abdomen, even reaching and puncturing her lung.

While it was the screwdriver injuries that killed young army girl Suzanne Marie Collins, in a report of one of the appeals, Pathologist Dr James Bell reckoned that the Marine Lance Corporal was alive when the excruciating, tree-branch damage was inflicted.

Kin pan Alley

Apparently, Alley handed himself in the very next day, admitting to the crime in detail, even taking the police to the scene of the gruesome events. But things started to change as the trial drew nearer. Alley began to assert that he was schizophrenic and, as a result, could not be held accountable for his actions.

Despite his protestations, a jury found against him and he was sentenced to be executed for the crime. Even members of his own family became estranged, choosing to shun him for a while. His daughter wouldn’t visit him for much of his incarceration on death row.

DNA drama

However, Alley was to maintain this insanity stance for some time, before he started to profess his innocence. Indeed, he vowed there was compelling DNA evidence, which the authorities wilfully chose not to follow up on, despite all the new advancements in techniques at their disposal.

Not only that, but Collins’s own boyfriend had been with her that same night also and fitted the description of an eyewitness who saw the abduction.

Let’s face it, DNA would have given the definitive answer, so why were the authorities so adamant not to run the tests?

We’ll never know as Alley was executed on this day via a lethal injection, aged 50 – 21 years after the crimes were committed. His last words were not ones of remorse reserved for the family of his victim, but to his own kin, including his once-estranged daughter. He told his family to stay strong and with that he succumbed to the flow of toxins.

Also on this day

28 June 1497 – Lord Audley
28 June 1928 – Walter Brooks

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28 June 1497 – Lord Audley

Posted in Beheaded, Death penalty with tags , , , , on June 28 by Last Writes

You met the two men hanged, drawn and quartered cohorts yesterday – William An Gof and Thomas Flamank. Now let us introduce you to Lord Audley, one of a trio of leaders who took the First Cornish Rebellion to London in 1497.

Disgruntled by crippling taxation, the people of Cornwall and the West Country mobilised and began marching on London in an uprising that garnered support as it progressed.

Tuchet away

That’s how Audley hooked up en route with the people’s army – there was solid support and it seemed like a good time to strike. Henry VII’s tenuous claim to the throne was pretty precarious in the early days, plus he was diverted by a war in Scotland, so maybe he wouldn’t have been able to cope with battles on two fronts. That was the thinking.

But how did a lord get involved with what was predominantly a people’s battle?

Born in Staffordshire, the 7th Lord was actually called Sir James Tuchet. He was down in Somerset when he got wind of the uprising; word had spread fast and more and more supporters were joining such a popular cause every day. All too happily he too joined the ranks as a commander and together they marched up through Guildford, bound for Blackheath.

Over and out

There the West Country army was hoping to get some shut-eye before the big confrontation with Henry’s troops in London. But Henry was ready for them. Indeed the yokels caught sight of the awe-inspiring rival troops and a third of them legged it back home leaving a well-matched 10,000 versus 10,000.

Sadly it wasn’t merely a numbers’ game – Henry’s army had proper gear. They were kitted up for this kind of thing – after all, this was their job. Their rivals on the other comprised Ben the butcher, Jim the joiner – ok so we’ve made up the names, but you get the drift? These men had no training in warfare. All they’d come equipped with was the courage of their convictions and a motley collection of parochial tools and weapons – no match for the armoury of the English army.

Needless to say the Cornishmen found themselves surrounded and the battle of Deptford was over before it had even begun.

Diss Audley

Audley was arrested on the battlefield, and like An Gof and Flamank, he was charged with treason, tried on 26 June 1497 and sentenced to death.

However, as blue-blooded nobility goes, his was a beheading as opposed to the commoners’ hanging, drawing and quartering. And on this day, Audley was taken from Newgate to Tower Hill where he had his head lopped off, aged roughly 34.

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28 June 1928 – Walter Brooks

Posted in Death penalty, Hanged with tags , , , on June 28 by Old Sparky

It would be so easy to speculate about our next man on the gallows – Walter Brooks. He was hanged for double murder. But wait until you hear the victims…

They were his wife, Beatrice Brooks and another man, Alfred Moore. It’s so tempting to jump to conclusions, but we won’t.

The fact is Brooks was strung up at Manchester, aged 48.

27 June 2006 – Angel Maturino Reséndiz

Posted in Death penalty, Lethal injection with tags , , , , on June 27 by Old Sparky

Angel Maturino ResendizOn the FBI’s top-10 most wanted list at one point, the railroad killer, Angel Maturino Reséndiz was to stop at nothing to target his victims.

Bludgeoned, beaten, shot, stabbed, raped, with the help of garden tools, sledgehammers, even tyres, no method was beyond his insatiable lust for blood.

Angel of death

Reséndiz would facelessly tour the desolate rail tracks, jumping on and off freight trains in search of his unsuspecting victims; 16, possibly 18 in total, although Reséndiz wanted his last two to remain a secret.

In one murder, Reséndiz left the weapon, a pickaxe, cushioned in the brain of one of his victims, while he used a sledgehammer literally to smash the skulls of another couple. As with most serial killers, the Mexican left calling cards, notably towards the end of his murderous spree – a newspaper report detailing one of his earlier crimes, plus a toy train.

Tracked down

The train was the key – it meant he was able to spread his torturous anti-talents far and wide, from Texas to Florida and Illinois to Kentucky. But his failure to finish one of his victims off was to prove his downfall, after she survived to identify him successfully. But that was after he’d handed himself into the police, apparently on a plea bargain arranged by his sister, according to ‘Crime Library’.

Indeed, the fact that he had turned himself in was used as his defence, but the jury didn’t want to know. It took the group a mere 10 hours to send him down for his crimes.

But something tells us Reséndiz was beginning to believe his own hype – he was lapping up his new-found celebrity status, charging for autographs, locks of hair, even interviews, and it was during one such session in the run-up to his execution that he likened his motives to another mass murderer.

Wacko about Waco

Remember Timothy McVeigh? Well, Reséndiz was to justify some of his killings on the same grounds as McVeigh – as a statement against the Waco incident.

Whatever his motive, it didn’t seem to make a bit of difference – he was hooked up to a gurney on this day in 2006 to receive his very own share of a lethal cocktail of drugs.

A visibly shaking Reséndiz concluded his own life with his own words ‘I deserve what I’m getting’ and with that the killed drugs flowed in.

Also on this day

27 June 1497 – Michael An Gof and Thomas Flamank

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