Execution of the Day – 2009 (Part 14)

There’s a big week coming up.

It seems fitting that in the run-up to Easter, we’re featuring a certain main man who came a-cropper on a cross. Ok so he was resurrected as the story goes, which begs the question, does Christ strictly qualify to be on Execution of the Day? Well maybe not, but the others certainly do.

Among them we have one of your favourites. Elmo Smith has been languishing in the top ten most popular posts for a very long time, in part due to his infamy as the last person to be executed in Pennsylvannia.

Talking of infamy, one person who’d been missing from the site was Georges Danton, but not any more. Read his story in the latest post to be added to the site.

And we’re not stopping there. One José Garcia Briseno is living out what could amount to his last week on death row. Come back later in the week to find out if he manages to eke out a longer existence on Earth, or whether the sherrif-slaying felon cops a dose of the lethal injection just a few days before Easter.

elmosmith2 April 1962 – Elmo Smith
The last ever electric chair execution in Pennsylvania was saved for the ever so coolly named Elmo Smith. His crime, on the other hand, was not so cool. He’d been sentenced to death for raping and murdering 17-year-old Mary Ann Mitchell in 1959.

jesus3 April 33 – Jesus of Nazareth
It was always going to controversial to pin Jesus’s death down to a day and year, but hey, it’s worth a go. Conflicting reports put his death somewhere between 32 and 36 AD and as for the day, well that’s based on the educated guesses out there.

james-hanratty4 April 1962 – James Hanratty
A letter to the home secretary saying ‘I did it’ would be enough to warrant a stay of execution wouldn’t you think? Especially when that man had precise details of the murder and knew things only a murderer or someone on the inside could.

elmo-patrick-sonnier5 April 1984 – Elmo Patrick Sonnier
Elmo Patrick Sonnier may have made the ultimate sacrifice for his brother on this day in 1984. He carried the can and went to the electric chair for murder, but was the killer his brother Eddie all along? The two siblings were found guilty of murdering 18-year-old Loretta Anne Bourque and 16-year-old David Le Blanc.

donald-e-harding16 April 1992 – Donald Harding
A truly gruesome death took place on this day in 1992. Donald Eugene Harding’s last few minutes of death were as agonising as imaginable, prompting Arizona to rethink their stance on execution method. The double murderer had been sentenced to die.

nicholas-ingram7 April 1995 – Nicholas Ingram
Conservative Prime Minister John Major might have been able to save a British citizen’s life had he stepped in, but he kept quiet leaving Nicholas Ingram to his fate in Georgia. Ingram was the first Brit to be executed since 1936 and the first ever to die in the electric chair after he was sentenced to death for killing J C Sawyer and injuring his wife, Eunice during a robbery.

ann-bedingfield8 April 1763 – Ann Beddingfield
Strangled by his bedclothes while he was asleep – that was the original verdict of accidental death awarded to John Beddingfield, but how wrong that was. In actual fact it was his lascivious wife’s extra-curricular lovelife that held the key to his death.

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