Archive for January, 2009

Execution of the Day – 2009 (Part 5)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , on January 29 by Old Sparky

Iconic moments in history litter this week, for the executees coming up are interspersed with men caught up in some of the most damaging wars throughout the world.

Old Ollie Cromwell was dug up and re-executed in an act of gratuitous retribution for his central role in the overthrow of the monarchy during the English Civil War. He predates a World War I soldier, formerly branded a deserter, who’s since been posthumously absolved.

And finally rage against the machine – a German who dared to speak out against the Nazis during World War II, plus an award-winning photograph that seemingly captured the full horror of the Vietnam War, and yet hid so much…

29 January 1913 – George Mackay
The 13th year of the 20th century was definitely an unlucky one for George Mackay. He was sent to the gallows on this day for murder. Mackay was hanged in Lewes prison for killing Arthur Walls. He was 29 when he was executed.

30 January 1661 – Oliver Cromwell (posthumously)
oliver-cromwell-liveIn the ultimate act of vengeance, the dead corpse of Oliver Cromwell was dug up from Westminster Abbey, then hanged, drawn and quartered in 1661. Cromwell’s body was exhumed so he could be posthumously executed for treason.

31 January 1945 – Eddie Slovik
eddie-slovik-liveUS World War II Private Eddie Slovik became the only deserter out of 21,000 soldiers to be executed. General Eisenhower is said to have given the go-ahead so his death could be used as an example to others. Previously while training, Slovik had asked to be transferred to a non-combat post. But he had been refused, because they needed men on the frontline.

1 February 1968 – Nguyen Van Lem
nguyen-van-lemThe dying moments of Nguyen Van Lem’s execution are set as pieces of indelible visual history. The Pulitzer-prize winning seconds leading up to Lem’s execution were captured by photographer Eddie Adams and became iconic and emotive images charting the Vietnam War.

2 February 1945 – Carl Goerdeler
carl-friedrich-goerdeler-imBeing brave enough to speak out against the Nazis lost Carl Friedrich Goerdeler his head. Still, it managed to make it onto a stamp, so all was not lost. The German politician was beheaded for daring to put up a feisty counter argument against the fascist regime in the lead up to the Second World War.

3 February 1998 – Karla Faye Tucker
karla-faye-tucker2Even finding God suddenly on death row couldn’t save Karla Faye Tucker as she waited her turn to be executed in 1998. Karla Faye Tucker was sentenced to death for hacking two people to death in a drug-induced robbery. Miraculously while awaiting her fate, Tucker became a born-again Christian.

4 February 2004 – Johnny Leartrice Robinson
johnny-leartrice-robinson‘How do you tell someone I accidently shot a white woman?’ asked Johnny Leartrice Robinson in his defence as he faced his murder charge. He was on trial for killing 31-year-old Beverly St. George, who’d broken down on a highway en route from Florida to Virginia.

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

Execution of the Day – 2009 (Part 4)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , on January 22 by Old Sparky

Infamy shrouds this week’s grisly clutch of criminals. Two executions sparked groundbreaking law changes in America – one was to unleash a backlash against the death penalty, while the other prompted Utah to ditch firing squads as its chosen method of dispatch.

Alongside these history makers, we have a piece of English history in the shape of a beheaded Renaissance lord. But the true infamy lies with a couple of sadistic serial killers, who met their ends – one as recently as 1989.

22 January 1552 – Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset
edward-seymour-1st-duke-ofJealous adversaries deposed the Duke of Somerset on this day in 1552. Despite being popular for a time in the eyes of the public, Edward, Duke of Somerset was beheaded in London for supposed treason.


23 January 1963 – James Abner Bentley
The execution of James Abner Bentley kicked off an unofficial backlash against the death penalty in California. Bentley was sent to the gas chamber on this day in 1963. But this was at a time when more liberal law makers, such as Governor Edmund ‘Pat’ Brown, were emerging, who were wholly against death as a sentence.

24 January 1989 – Ted Bundy
ted-bundy-live1A suave, cool and charming exterior hid a malevolent boil on the butt of humanity. We are, of course, talking about depraved sex-fiend Theodore Robert ‘Ted’ Bundy, who was executed today in 1989. Bundy got the shock of his life when he went to the electric chair for a rape and murder fest that spanned the United States of America.

25 January 1996 – Billy Bailey
billy-bailey-live‘It’s not as if you can look in the yellow pages under ‘h’ for hangman.’ So said Billy Bailey’s lawyer after his client chose to exit via the noose. Bailey’s was the first hanging in Delaware, America since 1946, so that method of execution was not common.

26 January 1996 – John Albert Taylor
john-albert-taylor-liveFiring squads ceased to be offered as a death penalty method following John Albert Taylor’s execution in Utah in 1996. Taylor was executed by firing squad in Utah on 26 January 1996 in an alleged sensational bid to embarrass the largely Mormon political population. A commentator at the time said ‘he wanted to cause more trouble for the state’.

27 January 1928 – Edward Rowlands and Daniel Driscoll
Edward Rowlands and Danny Driscoll where hanged for abetting a murder, after two sets of bookies went head to head in Cardiff. Rowlands and Driscoll carried the can for the murder of a rival Welsh bookmaker Dai Lewis. They were found guilty of aiding Rowland’s brother John to kill. John, in turn, was banged up in Broadmoor, deemed unable to take reponsibility for his actions.

28 January 1829 – William Burke
william-burke-liveForget body snatching when you can bump people off and get rich by it thought the infamous Williams Burke and Hare. Using Burke’s lodging house, the deadly Edinburgh duo along with Burke’s girlfriend Helen McDougal, would target unsuspecting guests, plying them whisky until they literally lost consciousness, before suffocating them.

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

Execution of the Day – 2009 (Part 3)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , on January 15 by Old Sparky

15 January 1954 – Dovie Dean
dovie-dean‘It was my son who killed him.’ That was Dovie Dean’s desperate attempt to wheedle her way out of taking the blame for murdering her husband. First Dean tried to lay the blame on her stepson, before attempting to stitch her own son up by asserting that he’d poisoned her 68-year-old husband Hawkins.

16 January 1936 – Albert Fish
albert-fish-liveFlesh-eating American serial killer Albert Hamilton Fish flippantly said ‘I don’t even know why I am here’as he sat on the electric chair waiting to die. Fish was an American serial killer and cannibal who was sentenced to die on this day in 1936.


17 January 1977 – Gary Gilmore
gary-gilmore-live‘Let’s do it’, said Gary Mark Gilmore as he faced his firing squad on this day in 1977. The American murderer was sentenced to death for killing a Utah motel manager Bennie Bushnell in 1976.



18 January 1917 – Joseph Stones, Peter Goggins and John McDonald
lance-sergeant-joseph-stoneThree First World War soldiers were posthumously pardoned 90 years on, after they’d been executed for so-called cowardice in 1917. Around 300-plus soldiers were shot for cowardice during the World War I. But it was these three young servicemen, in particular, who were to represent those ranks who were branded deserters.

19 January 2005 – Donald Beardslee
donald-beardslee-liveArnold Schwarzenegger sanctioned his first execution to be carried out on this day in 2005. Murderer Donald Beardslee’s appeal for clemency on the grounds of diminished responsibility was denied after Governor Schwarzenegger deemed that the criminal was fully aware of his actions.


20 January 1773 – William Griffiths
Highwayman William Griffiths was hanged for targeting a man who was to turn criminal himself. Griffiths was hanged at Tyburn for stealing two guineas and some pieces of silver. The crime took place on Tottenham Court Road, in London, and Griffiths’s victim was Reverend Dr Dodd.

21 January 1793 – Louis XVI
louis-xvi-live1Even royalty was not beyond the law as Louis XVI of France found out in 1793. The French king was sent to the guillotine for treason, following the insurrection on 10 August 1792. And, with his execution came the end of total monarchy in France.


Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

Execution of the Day – 2009 (Part 2)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , on January 8 by Old Sparky

8 January 1751 – Norman Ross
Desperate Scottish robber-cum-murderer Norman Ross was hanged on this day in the mid-18th century. Ross was found guilty of killing his boss after he tried to steal money to support his girlfriend and new baby.

9 January 1923 – Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters
edith-thompson-liveEdith Jessie Thompson and Frederick Edward Francis Bywaters caused a stir when their alleged crime of passion led to a backlash against the death penalty.



10 January 1645 – William Laud
william-laud-liveFormer Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud lost his head today in 1645 for passionately spreading the Lord’s word. He was beheaded for treason for his unflinchingly single-minded work in trying to achieve church unity.



11 January 2001 – Wanda Jean Allen
wanda-jean-allen2-liveWanda Jean Allen had a habit of bumping off her lesbian lovers. Allen was sentenced to death for the 1988 killing of her lover Gloria Jean Leathers, 29, in the US.



12 January 1928 – Ruth Snyder
ruth-snyder2-liveBlack widow Ruth Brown Snyder was strapped to the electric chair at Sing Sing for killing her husband. Murderous Snyder was after her huband Albert’s $48,000 life insurance payout.



13 January 1979 – Ginggaew
Despite having a body riddled with bullets, Thai prisoner Ginggaew had to be executed twice to finish off the job.A maid and a nanny, Ginggaew had to be executed by firing squad twice for her part in the kidnap and stabbing of her employers’ son in Thailand.

14 January 2003 – Samuel Clark Gallamore
samuel-gallamoreSamuel Gallamore forfeited his life for a drug-fuelled crime, in which he viciously slaughtered three people in cold blood. He was executed in Texas for triple murder after he’d targeted the family for their money.



Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

Execution of the day – 2009 (Part 1)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , on January 1 by Old Sparky

And they’re off! Here are week one’s “magnificent” seven

1 January 1938 – Alexander Gelver
In 1938, American-born communist sympathiser Alexander Gelver saw the New Year in with a bullet through his brain. He was accused of spreading the belief that there was a better life to be had outside communist Russia around the factory where he had worked. “…just inches from freedom, he was arrested”.

2 January 1663 – Illiam Dhone
illiam-dhone2-liveIlliam Dhone was shot for embezzlement, despite having already done time for his crime. Dhone (whose English name was William Christian) was a Isle of Man, aka Manx nationalist and politician. He led a successful revolt against the then Lord of Mann who’d been imprisoned, and was eventually made Governor of the Isle of Man in the mid-17th century.

3 January 1946 – William Joyce
william-joyce-liveFacist William Joyce was the penultimate man to be executed in the UK for a crime other than murder. He was found guilty of treason for being a fascist politician and broadcasting Nazi propaganda to the British during World War II.


4 January 1946 – Theodore Schurch
With 10 crimes levelled against him, Theodore William John Schurch was the last person to be executed in the UK for a murderless crime. In March 1945 the Anglo-Swiss soldier was arrested in Rome for fascist activities during the Second World War. He stood accused of nine counts of treachery and one of desertion.

5 January 1993 – Westley Allan Dodd
westley-allen-dodd2-live‘I must be executed before I have an opportunity to escape or kill someone else’ said US sex offender and serial killer Westley Allan Dodd. Also known as Satan’s disciple, Dodd was branded ‘incurable’ by his own admission. The murderous sex offender from Richland, Washington was convicted of killing 3 boys.
6 January 1995 – Angel Mou Pui-Peng
angel-mou-pui-peng-liveAngel Mou Pui-Peng’s execution was rescheduled to this day in 1995 following a poignant display of Christmas spirit. A stay of execution was granted to allow her to spend Christmas with her nine-year-old son. Done for drug trafficking, the 25-year-old single mother was able to have her final Christmas with her family in Singapore. 

7 January 1400 – Thomas Holland
An earl lost his head on this day at the turn of the 15th century. And his uncle followed a week later. The 1st Earl of Surrey Thomas Holland were executed for treason after he tried to overthrow the king in 1399.

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

Execution of the day…redux

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , on January 1 by Old Sparky

So, we did it! We found an entire year in the life of death and it’s all here for you now to browse at your leisure.

As we can’t guarantee we’ll find another 365 fresh judicial deaths for you we’re going to change the format so you’ll get a whole week’s worth of past favourites in one chunk which should make getting around a lot quicker too. You’ll find January’s batch below and the other months will follow shortly.

Alternatively you can still use the calendar selector on the homepage…but you’ll need to skip backwards now to find the exact date you want.

To keep the regulars happy and give you all a reason to check back from time to time we’re going to sweep through the year and update the most popular stories with more photos, information and possibly even video clips (technology permitting!).

If you have any particular stories you’d like us to focus on then please leave a comment.

We’ll flag the updated stories on the monthly summaries and repost them on the appropriate days so it will be easy to spot them when you next pay us a visit.

And finally, lest we forget the “unlucky” few languishing on death row itself. How long has Chemical Ali got left? What about the ringleaders of the Bali Nine? We’ll be monitoring the airwaves and as soon as there’s a story of note you’ll be (one of the) first to know…especially if you subscribe to our RSS feed.

Thanks for all your support and comments in 2008 and here’s to a glorious 2009.

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon