Execution of the Day – 2009 (Part 4)
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
Jealous 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
A 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
‘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
Firing 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
Forget 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.