Archive for June, 2009

Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 26)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , , on June 25 by Old Sparky

Charles-Starkweather25 June 1959 – Charles Starkweather
Serial killers always seem to gain notoriety.

And Americans certainly have a love-hate affair with Charles Starkweather. His story spawned films, songs, you name it, he inspired it and hence he was immortalised.

And when you hear the story, you’ll know why.

Patrick-Knight26 June 2007 – Patrick Knight
If you were on death row, we’re sure the last thing you’d feel like doing was laughing. Not so our next subject for execution – Patrick Knight, who kicked off a joke fest to ensure he went out with a smile on his face.

This mission statement earned the Texan the nickname ‘Dead Man Laughing’.

Angel-Maturino-Resendiz27 June 2006 – Angel Maturino Reséndiz
On the FBI’s top-10 most wanted list at one point, the railroad killer, Angel Maturino Reséndiz was to stop at nothing to target his victims.

Bludgeoned, beaten, shot, stabbed, raped, with the help of garden tools, sledgehammers, even tyres.

No method was beyond his insatiable lust for blood.

Sedley-Alley28 June 2006 – Sedley Alley
The sheer animal violence of our next crime is enough to make you heave. Sedley Alley was executed in Tennessee for kidnap, rape and murder of the most depraved kind.

But did he do it? The crime was evil incarnate – not only was the 19-year-old victim beaten viciously, but she was struck about the head with a screwdriver, strangled and raped.

29 June 1961 – Zsiga Pankotia
In the twilight of British execution history, Leeds hit a milestone today in 1961. Armley Gaol executed its final prisoner on this day. His name was Zsiga Pankotia and he was a Hungarian, who actually committed murder mid-robbery.

Edmund-Heines30 June 1934 – Edmund Heines
Deputy to one of Hitler’s henchmen, Edmund Heines was to be picked out as one of 78 key targets in the now infamous ‘Night of the Long Knives’. They were executed in Nazi Germany by their would-be peers, and this was seen as a purge within the party. It targeted key individuals, who were in conflict with the direction in which the Nazis were headed, namely the stormtroopers – aka the ‘Brownshirts’ or to give them their posh name, Sturmabteilung (SA for short).

Saint-Oliver-Plunkett1 July 1681 – Saint Oliver Plunkett
Archbishop Plunkett remained poised and calm to the last, even forgiving those responsible for his death…right before he was hanged, drawn and quartered.

Born in Ireland in the early part of the seventeenth century, Oliver studied to enter the priesthood in Rome.

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Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 25)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , on June 18 by Old Sparky

18 June 1990 – John Edward Swindler
Swindler is not another Batman nemesis, but the surname of the bloke who was Old Sparky’s last victim in Arkansas. John Edward Swindler was his name to be precise and he gained notoriety by refusing to elect which method he should die by.

Julius-and-Ethel-Rosenberg19 June 1953 – Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
Our next American duo was the stuff of James Bond movies. A couple by the name of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for espionage after they were found guilty of spying for Russia. At a time when East/West relations were beginning to get strained to say the least, it was a bizarre climate of distrust.

Lamont-Reese20 June 2006 – Lamont Reese
‘This is some kind of nasty’ were the dying words of our next unsavoury character in response to his lethal injection. Meet Texan Lamont Reese, a triple murderer whose victims’ only crime was to flirt with his girlfriend.

Reese was just 21 at the time, while the three victims were slightly older.

Thomas-Harrison-Provenzano21 June 2000 – Thomas Harrison Provenzano
Drama surrounded our next American execution. In a will-he-won’t-he cliff-hanger, Thomas Harrison Provenzano sat hooked up to the gurney even as they battled in a last-ditch attempt to get a stay of execution.

For Provenzano was deemed not to be mentally stable. Indeed his unpredictability had already been proven.

John-Fisher22 June 1535 – John Fisher
Mary I of England was her dad’s daughter all right. It was easy to see where she got her propensity to bump off religious people from.

After all Henry VIII was just the same, just he was motivated by a different religion – Protestantism and he’d just passed the Act of Supremacy which had given him carte blanche to do whatever the hell he liked.

Carl-Muller23 June 1915 – Carl Muller
Invisible ink failed to fool the British Secret Service during the First World War. And as spying during World War I was punishable by death, Carl Friedrick Muller felt the full force of British wrath after he was executed for his betrayals. Yet he almost missed his own execution after the black cab broke down on its way to the Tower of London.

24 June 1926 – Louie Calvert
Despite her protestations that she was up the duff, it took a mere 20 seconds to kill Louie Calvert on this day in 1926. The murderess was hanged in Strangeways after she’d been found guilty of killing her landlady and a former boss.

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Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 24)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , , , on June 11 by Old Sparky

Let’s spare a thought this week for nine men who lost their lives fighting for a better world.

As we were cracking on with compiling this week’s chained gang, oil giant Shell hit the headlines. They’ve forked out a cool £10 mil’ to smooth over an incident in 1995, where nine ‘environmental activists’ were hanged in the African country of Nigeria.

Their crime? Daring to speak out against oil exploration. And they had every right. For they were members of the local Ogoni tribe who were decrying the damage oil companies were inflicting on the Niger Delta. The nine men were hanged following a dubious trial, based in ‘trumped up charges’, according to Reuters. This marked a sinister precedent in the bid for freedom of speech.

What poured oil over this inflammatory case was the inference that Shell had somehow colluded with the Nigerian government to have these men silenced. Of course the £ multi-billion company vehemently continues to deny any involvement.

However the family of one victim, Ken Saro-Wiwa took Shell to a New York court at the end of May 2009. News of an out-of-court settlement has just broken.

Timothy-McVeigh11 June 2001 – Timothy McVeigh
Way before Al Quaeda’s 9/11 massacre, home-grown vigilante Timothy McVeigh was behind America’s second deadliest bombing to date. But what makes a bloke so embittered that he feels compelled to commit mass murder?

Harry-Strauss12 June 1941 – Harry Strauss
In a serious cull of the gangs terrorising New York neighbourhoods, Harry Strauss was hauled in and executed for numerous murders. For his was a life devoted to death and crime. Strauss was known to his mates as ‘Pep’ or ‘Pittsburgh Phil’ and he was famed for murdering as many as 30 victims as a key member of the sinister Murder Inc.

13 June 1810 – Richard Jones & Melinda Mapson
Here’s an unusual one. Richard Jones was done for pretending to be someone else. The 34-year-old was imprisoned at Newgate and hanged for impersonation. Luckily for Rory Bremner, it’s no longer a criminal offence…

William-Palmer14 June 1856 – William Palmer
Brilliantly ironic quote of the week goes to dopey doc, William Palmer. When faced with the trapdoor of his scaffold, Palmer is said to have said ‘is it safe’! For Dr Palmer had been sentenced to death for his prolific propensity to poison for financial gain.

15 August 1963 – Eddie Mays
For every seven people executed in the US, one person is reprieved because they’re found to be innocent. That’s life according to the Death Penalty Information Center (sic) – and we know it’s hard to believe when you consider our site covers just a small fraction of the numbers who’ve had the death penalty.

George-Stinney16 June 1944 – George Stinney
Just 14 years old. That’s how old our next South Carolina target for execution was. George Junius Stinney Junior became the youngest person to be executed in the US during the 20th century. It is unclear whether he was actually guilty or whether it was lynch-mob mentality that ensured he was executed.

Eugen-Weidmann17 June 1939 – Eugène Weidmann
And the award for France’s last public execution goes to… Eugène Weidmann. The 31-year-old lost his head to Madame Guillotine after he committed multiple murders.

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Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 23)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , on June 4 by Old Sparky

Every so often we give you some new morsel of execution history to feast on and this week is no exception – ‘death by 1,000 cuts’. No, this isn’t some new Tarantino flick, but a debut method on Execution of the Day and boy is it grim reaping the details on this one.

Reserved for the most heinous of criminals, this method was a pure slice of Chinese history. To give it its real name, ‘lingchi’, this execution was normally administered to those who’d committed treason or killed their parents.

Butchery in its purest form, it involved agonisingly carving up the criminal in what is known in the trade as slow slicing. It took up to three days to deliver this debillitating penalty but let’s just say the criminal went down in a blade of gory.

Offal truth

First the eyeballs, then all the little bits were removed – you know, ears, nose, tongue, fingers, toes etc. Then heavy duty limbs were followed by the main torso and all the innardy bits. And there was pure method in their order. The eyes, so the person couldn’t see what was coming next. Apparently it intensified the psychological trauma. The little bits to draw out the pain. This was followed by the limbs for the same reason. Some sources even say they were given opiates – to heighten the sensations. While others say for the opposite effect.

So why such a ritualistic death? Not only was this designed to deny the person a right to life in the here and now, but to deny them a right to any afterlife.

So who used these methods then? Genghis Khan was a fan, but there’s no surprise there. Nor are the Mings – the dynasty that ruled with a gruesome grip during the 1300 to 1600s. They surrounded themselves with eunuchs as courtiers and one such man rose to extreme power. Lui Jin was wily and amassed a small fortune through hard graft, according to the ‘Asian Wall Street Journal’.

In fact the journal put him in the top 50 wealthiest people in Asia over the past 1,000 years. Of course his wealth may well have been bigged up by his jealous opponents.

A tot of Jin

Nevertheless when a job lot of weapons were allegedly found at his home, he was deemed a threat to the throne and cut down to size in 1510.


Voyeurs parted with hard cash to savour morsels of his fresh flesh as a snack while they watched his demise. What was left of Jin died on the second day into his three-day event, aged roughly 58.

Amazingly there are other documented cases of this torturous execution taking place as recently as the 20th century.

Dole-Chadee4 June 1999 – Dole Chadee
Drugs and death earned Caribbean crime lord Dole Chadee his premature end on this day in 1999. He was executed in for a string of murders. But those killings were ultimately linked to his prolific network of drugs trafficking and distribution around Trinidad and Tobago, for which he was never held to task.

5 June 851 – St Sancho – a Martyr of Córdoba
St Sancho (aka Sanctius or Sancius) was just one of a barrage of executions in Spain, who made up the Martyrs of Córdoba spanning the mid-800s. He was one of 48 people who spoke out against Muslim rule. In doing so, they were all killed for their Christian beliefs.

Feltus-Taylor6 June 2000 – Feltus Taylor
Financial worries can drive a person to crazy distraction, but hopefully not so crazy as to kill. Unfortunately, there was no telling Feltus Taylor, who paid for his crime on this day six months into the new Millennium.

Oswald-Pohl7 June 1951 – Oswald Pohl
Simply carrying out orders – that was Oswald Pohl’s weasely defence for his integral part in the Holocaust. A high-ranking official, he was tasked with distributing people between the various concentration camps.

William-G.-Zuern-Jr8 June 2004 – William G Zuern Jnr
You’ve heard the song ‘I shot the sheriff’. If you’ve ever wondered who did the deputy, it was William G Zuern Jnr, who was executed in Ohio for his crime, on this day in 2004.

Baba-Banda-Singh-Bahadur9 June 1716 – Baba Banda Singh Bahadur
A Sikh man, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, stuck out as a heroic revolutionary amid a backdrop of oppression in 18th-century Northern India. He fought for the Punjabi people inspired by his guru and his deep-set beliefs, and met a painfully bloody end for his insurrection.

Amelia-Dyer10 June 1896 – Amelia Dyer
At £10 a pop, a career in baby farming was not to be sniffed at in the 19th century. Considered to be a nice little earner, Amelia Dyer got in on the act and became a refuge for unwanted babies or unmarried mums who couldn’t cope with the scandal or afford to hold onto their children.

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