28 July 1976 – Christian Ranucci

Christian Ranucci

Christian Ranucci

One of the last executions in France was reserved for Christian Ranucci.

Many have said the convicted killer may not have been guilty, but there was no denying Ranucci’s last words: ‘rehabilitate me’.

Maybe they were an admission of remorse, or perhaps a plea to live, but the then president of France, Valery Giscard D’Estaing flatly refused to reprieve him.

For the crime was cold-hearted. A young girl was abducted and murdered in the south of France.

Ranucci was found guilty and lost his head in Marseille, courtesy of Madame Guillotine, when he was aged just 22.

Since then, speculators have suggested that a serial killer may have been responsible for the death – Michel Fourninet has been touted as the real culprit by the likes of Robert Badinter. But as yet, the sentence still stands.

Bookmark this site
del.icio.us | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

16 Responses to “28 July 1976 – Christian Ranucci”

  1. I had no idea the guillotine was still in use in 1976

  2. “Rehabilitate me” = on the contrary, implied he was innocent, and he counted on people to clean his name! Giscard refused to save him due to huge mob and population pressure at the time.

  3. Amelia Says:

    I’m with FM, I don’t see how you could interpret the words “Rehabilitate me,” especially uttered to lawyers, as anything but a prayer to clear his name.

    Nursemyra: The last execution was in 1977, also by guillotine. You’re not alone, a lot of contemporary Frenchmen thought that the government was using the electric chair. There was no way for them to know, since executions were very hush-hush.

    • Thanks for your comments. And your opinion certainly looks likely. However, there are two main interpretations of rehabilitate:

      rehabilitate (vb) (tr) 1. to restore to good health or useful life, as through therapy or education. 2. to restore to a former position or rank. 3. to restore the good reputation of.

      In the face of certain death, maybe it was a call to carry on the fight to clear his name posthumously. The point is, we’ll never know for sure. But something must have led to him being singled out for the crime.

      I’ve merely acknowledged there are two definitions, pointed out the uncertainty of his guilt and left the interpretation up to you, the readers.

      • Nick Says:

        In french and in a LEGAL context, rehabilitate me (réhabilitez moi) meant simply “continue the legal fight to prove my innocence”, something Mr Ranucci’s mother and lawyyers still continue today (in vain, but it is very hard to reverse legal sentences in France).
        So sorry, but what he said was clear since he had claimed his innocence at trial.

      • Exactly, translating “Réhabilitez-moi” as “rehabilitate me” is really a mistranslation, since in English the word “rehabilitation” is used for criminals who have mended their ways. A better translation is “Clear my name.”

  4. Jose Manuel Says:

    I don’t understand that France will abolish the death penalty in 1949 and does leave it alone for the men, how that is explained? where the equality was? in 1973 when I was born there was an execution, that of Ali Benyaned and in 1976 that of this unhappy boy, Christian Ranucci ,that was unique son of Heloise Mathon and to the one that the French republic took off it forever to their mother. In 1976 France with this act of beheading a 22 year-old boy demonstrated to look like each other more to a violent country of the third world that to a modern nation of the XX century.
    And that nobody thinks that Giscard D’estaing didn’t forgive to Christian for the pressure of the public mass, D’estaing is an extremist of the French right, somebody that believed in its moment in the death penalty and he doesn’t have remorses of not having forgives to Christian
    I wait that him and all those that contributed to this boy’s death some day, in life or in death, they pay it very expensive.

  5. javier rafael Says:

    Ranucci won the first prize of bad luck lottery, without buying a ticket, He was in the wrong place – at the wrong minute… the Gilles Perrault’s book_ The Red Jersey is very interesting.

  6. Secily Says:

    I agree with Amelia and FM, I personally believe he was innocent, also, javier, are you sure the book you read, is called the Red Jersey? Because I can’t find it anywhere. The closest I found was The Red Orchestra.

  7. Gene Says:

    Secily, the book that javier mentions is possibly entitled in English ‘The Red Pull-over.’ It was made into a film in 1979 with Serge Adevikian as the unfortunate Ranucci. Perrault, the writer of the book, was a lawyer, and contended that without the hysteria over the crime, the guilty verdict should not have been handed down, given that the evidence was not entirely convincing. For example, two witnesses who claimed they could identify Ranucci failed to pick him out of a line-up. The red pull-over in question was assumed by the prosecution to belong to Ranucci, though it was several sizes too large. Couple this to the fact that Ranucci’s application for clemencyto the Office of the President of the Republic was dealt with in a record-fast 10 days, and it casts the legal process used in a very bad light indeed.

  8. well I think it’s the guilty who are always wrong. That’s all, rehabilitate me is quietly bulls**t, and in any other case is dementia, bordering on sociopathic behaviour, which head or no head deserves one.

  9. Edward James Loftus Says:

    clear my name well ok then seeing as your a complete fuckin liar who totally ignored everything around you in your bananas world going out of your way in the process to do so, you and your little twats oh yeah I mean my neighbours and probably yours and whoever else who prance around here like the weirdos they are seemingly invisible.

  10. Edward James Loftus Says:

    in your cases it’s voluntary, leave me alone.
    two plus two is four

  11. Edward James Loftus Says:

    capital punishment seems like baying for blood,
    maybe, friendly malice, I’ve got the latter.

  12. Edward James Loftus Says:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: