Execution of the Day – 2009 (Part 6)
There’s a distinct Godly tinge to this week’s proceedings.
What with a whole clutch of Christians and a man who mentioned God in his final speech, it seems undeniable that religion features quite spectacularly.
Indeed, a former clergyman was bumped off thanks to a blood-lusty monarch, who revelled in pumping out as many Protestants as she could possibly muster, and who also sanctioned the death of a Scottish monarch who was rival to her throne.
Intersperse this with a couple of penitent men and an Irish ghost and it surely marks a busy week on the old execution calendar to be sure.
5 February 1597 – The Martyrs of Japan
The Christian collective (some of whom were just boys) were rounded up and crucified in 1597 at Nagasaki along with Saint Garcia, because the Japanese emperor was convinced they were going to try and overthrow him.
6 February 2003 – Henry Earl Dunn Jr
Hate-crime offender Henry Earl Dunn Jr expressed sorrow for his actions in the lead up to his execution today. He’d been found guilty of a senseless crime, where an innocent homosexual was targeted. Of course Dunn tried to wriggle out of his sentence.
7 February 2006 – Glenn Lee Benner II
‘Words seem so futile. All I can say is I’m sorry. May God give you peace,’ said a repentant Glenn Benner II as he waited for his killer injection. The convicted rapist and murderer spent nearly half his life on death row to think on his crimes.
8 February 1587 – Mary, Queen of Scots
‘So long as there is life in her, there is hope; so as they live in hope, we live in fear’, so said the English ministers about Catholic supporters of Mary, Queen of Scots. Indeed the men in Mary’s life were ultimately the death of her.
9 February 1555 – John Hooper
Events conspired against John Hooper to ensure he was burned at the stake in 1555. The ex-Bishop and clergyman had been banged up for heresy, but they couldn’t touch him because there were no laws to call upon.
10 February 1943 – Ronald Roberts
Despite a war raging, the death penalty was still alive and well in 1943. Ronald Roberts was executed on this day for murder. The 28-year-old was hanged in Liverpool Prison during the Second World War. Roberts had been found guilty of the murder of Nellie Pearson.
11 February 1869 – Patrick J. Whelan
There’s a hostel in Canada that’s said to be haunted by the last man to be hanged publicly in Canada. That is a man who might have been fitted up for a crime. The ghost of Irishman Patrick James Whelan is said to roam his cell in the former prison on Nicholas Street in Ottawa.