Archive for May, 2009

Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 22)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , , on May 28 by Old Sparky

James-Neil-Tucker28 May 2004 – James Neil Tucker
‘To those I have harmed: my abject apologies and regrets. I am ashamed.’ Those were the final words of American James Neil Tucker and they sounded sincere enough, didn’t they? But it does make you wonder, when you hear what one of his previous lawyers said about him.

29 May 1593 – John Penry
It should be a criminal offence to call your kids Deliverance, Comfort, Safety and Sure-hope. But that’s not why John Penry kicked the bucket today in 1593. Wales’s first Protestant martyr was hanged for his nationalistic views on religion.

joan-of-Arc30 May 1431 – Joan of Arc
French national treasure, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake as a heretic despite a prolific career on the battlefield. Fact was she’d been a visionary leader, quite literally – her actions were governed and dictated by visions from God plus other martyrs.

Ronald-Clark-O'Bryan31 May 1984 – Ronald Clark O’Bryan
‘Too many sweets’ll kill ya,’ especially if your dad’s a money-grabbing maniac. Our filicidal felon of the day is Ronald C O’Bryan who made the ultimate sacrifice in search of wealth. The Texan was hell-bent on bagging a $20,000 payout, so he wilfully poisoned his own son for financial gain.

1 June 1962 – Karl Adolf Eichmann
Exterminate was the order of the day for Karl Adolf Eichmann in 1962. Following a life dedicated to being a self-promoted ‘Jewish specialist’, he was executed for war crimes against humanity.

James-Douglas,-4th-Earl-of-2 June 1581 – James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton
Who could have seen it? That James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton would be executed by the very contraption he purchased. Douglas was once a powerful Scot, if not the most powerful, as he was Regent to a very young James VI.

Barbara-Graham3 June 1955 – Barbara Graham
‘Why waste good food on me? Give it to someone who can enjoy it,’ snarled Bloody Babs as she prepared to come face to face with her maker. Drug-addicted prostitute Barbara Graham, born Barbara Elaine Wood had been convicted of murder in America.

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Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 21)

Posted in Burned at the stake, Death penalty, Drawn and quartered, Guillotine, Hanged, Lethal injection with tags , , , , on May 21 by Last Writes

Everyone loves a bit of infamy and this week we’ve got it in spades.

From mass murderers to serial killers, and regicidal to suicidal maniacs, it’s all happening.

In fact it’s so good, we’ve had to ditch fiesty, old Margaret Pole in our weekly round-up. She was axed thanks to a dodgy indictment of treason against her cousin Henry VIII, while our chosen Frenchman went quite a few steps further and assassinated the king of France.

So without further preamble, we’ll let you get on with it.

Emile Henry 21 May 1894 – Emile Henry
A Frenchman lost his head in pursuit of pure anarchy today in 1894.

Emile Henry went to guillotine after he bombed a station, killing one person and injuring 20 more.

22 May 1538 – John Forrest
A friar fried today in 1538 for daring to denounce moves to make the king head of the Church.

And that king was none other than Henry VIII…

William Kidd 23 May 1701 – William Kidd
Not just a cool pub in the heartland of the East End, William ‘Captain’ Kidd was alleged to have been a pirate.

He was hanged for his misdemeanours just minutes from where the drinking house in his honour is now situated.

Jonathan Wild 24 May 1725 – Jonathan Wild
Our next offender was the muse for many a playwright and author after he pillaged his way through the first part of the 18th century.

For Jonathan Wild led a double life, respectable lawman as well as the first known organised criminal in Britain.

Marcel Petiot 25 May 1946 – Marcel Petiot
You’d think there was enough bloodshed rife in Nazi-infested France during World War II.

Obviously not for Marcel André Henri Félix Petiot, who decided Paris was in dire need of a spot of serial killing.

John Richard Blackwelder 26 May 2004 – John Richard Blackwelder
Imagine you’ve got your heart set on the death penalty, but you’re stuck with parole-less life instead. How are you meant to go all the way? You kill a fellow convict, of course – at least that was Florida prisoner John Richard Blackwelder’s not-so bright idea.

Francois Ravaillac27 May 1610 – François Ravaillac
May’s obviously a popular month to bump off world leaders.

And hanging was considered way too quick for today’s candidate – a regicide no less.

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Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 20)

Posted in Beheaded, Breaking wheel, Death penalty, Electric chair, Gibbet, Hanged, Lethal injection with tags , , , , on May 14 by Old Sparky

Adultery, such an emotive word. And it’s the theme of the week too, not least because we have the queen of adultery…literally.

For this week features Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s ill-fated second wife.

In her honour, we have a tale of two adulterers who met a similar fate to Mrs Tudor and, spookily, all their deaths were sealed by Thomases.

But first, let us take you to deepest Hampshire, where there’s a hill by the name of Combe Down, accessed by the ominous sounding Gallows Lane. And it’s with good reason.

Double trouble

For it’s not really a hill but a neolithic burial mound, and fittingly, atop this deathly destination, is a double gibbet, a stark and solitary reminder of Britain’s bloody past.

It was erected in 1676 and was reserved for just two individuals – George Broomham and his bit of stuff, Dorothy Newham.

This louche and lusty couple were found guilty of double murder, after they bludgeoned Broomham’s wife and son to death on the seemingly remote hill.

But little did they know, they’d been seen.

Of course, while Boleyn’s blood was on the hands of one Thomas Cromwell, these murderers were also sentenced to death thanks to another Thomas – ‘Mad Thomas’ to be exact.

A mad affair

Their fates hanged on the strength of the most questionable testimony in the area, quite literally.

But believe ‘Mad Thomas’ the judge did, and Broomham and Newham were found guilty at Winchester Assizes. They were strung up in 1676 in a double gallows made exclusively for the murderous pair.

To this day, the owner of the land volunteers to maintain the upkeep of the gallows, which stands as a reminder to all of the criminal duo’s demise.

And talking of crims, here’s a whole raft of ’em for your delectation, including Anne Boleyn.

14 May 1914 – Joseph Spooner
Joseph Spooner hit the gallows for killing his own kin in 1914. He was found guilty of murder after he targeted his daughter, Elizabeth. Spooner hanged for his crimes at Liverpool, aged 42.

Eppelein-von-Gailingen15 May 1381 – Eppelein von Gailingen
We head to Medieval Germany for today’s gruesome execution. It’s a tall tale about Eppelein von Gailingen – a baron who was having trouble holding on to his castle in the heartlands of Nuremburg.

16 May 1994 – John Thanos
‘Adios’ said an unrepentant triple murderer as he was strapped to the gurney today in 1994. This was Maryland’s first execution since the penalty was resurrected in 1976 and it was reserved for John Frederick Thanos after he muscled his way to the front of the queue by waiving his rights to appeal.

Joseph-Mad-Dog-Taborsky17 May 1960 – Joseph “Mad Dog” Taborsky
Cornell has really been churning out the mass murderers. Our second ivy-league educated inmate of the month got fried today in Connecticut at the start of the swinging ‘60s. Joseph ‘Mad Dog’ Taborsky’s grisly exploits earned him not only the nickname, but the electric chair too.

Dalton-Prejean18 May 1990 – Dalton Prejean
Even Europe waded into this one. We’re talking about the case of Dalton Prejean, who was a mere 17 years old when he committed the offence that was to end his life. Plenty of debate preceded the sentence being carried out but it was a callous crime – he’d shot a traffic cop in the face after all.

Anne-Boleyn19 May 1536 – Anne Boleyn
Adultery, incest and treason – if you want to get shot of your wife, those are pretty reasonable grounds for divorce. But when you’re the king of England (after another bit of skirt) more desperate measures may be in order.

Roger-Keith-Coleman20 May 1992 – Roger Keith Coleman
Despite pleas of innocence, Virginia was hell-bent on executing Roger Keith Coleman today in 1992. Coalminer Coleman was found guilty of rape and murder, after his sister-in-law was found stabbed to death.

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Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 19)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , , , on May 7 by Old Sparky

dr-harry-howard-holmes7 May 1896 – Dr. Harry Howard Holmes
Hotelier from hell, Dr. Harry Howard Holmes was a serial killer extraordinaire. He had the nerve to say, ‘Take your time, don’t bungle it’ to his executioner today in 1896 after he was hanged for a prolific spate of killings.
Cool, calm, collected…and extremely callous.

arthur-william-hodge8 May 1811 – Arthur William Hodge
Slave driver Arthur William Hodge was executed in the British Virgin Islands for murdering one of his slaves. In a ground-breaking case, he became the first British person to be executed for killing a black slave, according to John Andrew in his book, ‘The Hanging of Arthur Hodge’.

willie-francis9 May 1947 – Willie Francis
Willie Francis defied death via the electric chair once only to be electrocuted again today in 1947. His was the first electrocution to fail in the United States. Nicknamed Gruesome Gertie, Louisiana’s electric chair first clapped a hold of Francis on 3 May 1946 at the tender age of just 16.

john-wayne-gacy10 May 1994 – John Wayne Gacy
Clowns don’t get more sinister than John Wayne Gacy. He’d dress in a clown’s costume and seemingly wow the Chicago neighbourhood. But really he was to become one of America’s most notorious serial killers, who preyed on boys and young men.

11 May 1920 – Herbert Salisbury and William Waddington
Two murderers were strung up in a double hanging at Strangeways today in 1920. Herbert Salisbury and William Waddington were executed for murder after they were found guilty of two separate crimes.

buck-ruxton12 May 1936 – Dr Buck Ruxton
Newspapers can make or break you. So Dr Buck Ruxton found out the hard way on this day in 1936. He was hanged for double murder despite going to extraordinary lengths to conceal his crime. He’d been driven insane by his wife’s beauty – he feared she was having an affair.

michael-ross13 May 2005 – Michael Ross
‘I felt anger, just watching him lay there and sleep after what he did to those women’. Those were the thoughts belonging to Debbie Dupuis – a sister of one of the victims of serial killer Michael Ross, as she watched him being executed in 2005, following an 18-year stint on death row.

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