17 June 1939 – Eugène Weidmann

Eugene WeidmannAnd the award for France’s last public execution goes to… Eugène Weidmann.

The 31-year-old lost his head to Madame Guillotine after he committed multiple murders.

While in jail for robbery, the Frankfurt-born felon met three mates and on the inside, they decided to target rich tourists, kill them and nab their money when they got on the outside.

Cheque mate

You really didn’t want to date this man, as Jean de Koven was gruesomely to find out. Weidmann managed to ensnare the dancer from New York, whom he promptly shot, before getting one of the team’s girlfriends to cash the victim’s traveller’s cheques.

Then, he decided to widen the net to include French people too. Deciding he needed a car, Weidmann opted to hire a chauffeur before shooting him in the back of the head and making off with the newly acquired motor. A theatre producer met a similar fate followed by an estate agent and a nurse.

Nicked

But the authorities were on his case by now and Weidmann was eventually tracked down along with the rest of his callous cohorts. One got just 20 months, the girlfriend who’d cashed the cheques was acquitted, one never even made it to court…and then there were two.

Roger Million and Weidmann were found guilty of the murder of de Koven, however Million’s sentence was commuted to life. But for Weidmann there was no such luck. He was brought before the lethal blade and a baying crowd. Such was the animosity for the murderer that President Alfred Lebrun ruled that there would be no more executions held in public. Of course, behind closed doors, the death penalty continued until as late as 1977.

Also on this day

17 June 2008 – 3 Japanese Prisoners

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One Response to “17 June 1939 – Eugène Weidmann”

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