Archive for August, 2009

Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 35)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , on August 27 by Old Sparky

27 August 1802 – James Mellor and Thomas Spencer
We head to Derbyshire for today’s date with death. A thieving twosome hit the gallows – James Mellor and Thomas Spencer, although Mellor’s crime is the subject of uncertainty. According to records from Derby Gaol, both men were had up for burglary, but another source says he stole a horse.

28 August 2007 – DaRoyce Lamont Mosley
A bloodbath in a bar left four people murdered and one man on death row. As waitress Sandra Cash packed up the night’s takings four customers sat finishing their drinks. Suddenly three men burst in brandishing guns and demanding money and although Sandra handed over the meagre takings without question she was shot twice.

29 August 1533 – Atahualpa
Curiosity killed the Inca today in 1533. Once a former ruler of one of the most golden dynasties – the Incas – Atahualpa was executed after he served his useful purpose. This was at a time when the Spanish were on the look-out to extend their territories.

30 August 2000 – Gary Lee Roll
Misery hit Missouri after three men decided to target an innocent family. Masquerading as the police, Gary Lee Rolls and two cohorts blagged their way into the home of family of four – the Schepers.

31 August 1995 – Barry Lee Fairchild
Controversy shrouds today’s main man – Barry Lee Fairchild, whose life sharply hit the skids in Arkansas today in 1995. Indeed his execution was so controversial that the Arkansas board voting on whether to commute his sentence were to face ‘their closest vote on record’ – the penalty ended up being just one vote away from being overturned, according to Michael Kroll from the Death Penalty Information Center.

1 September 1773 – William Field
The highways and byways were slightly safer after our next man hit the gallows. William Field was strung up for a range of robberies on the streets on London. He started off well enough as a footman, but soon people got wise to his ill-gotten ways and wound up where no-one would touch him because he was so dodgy.

2 September 1685 – Alice Lisle
On the debut day of the infamous Winchester Assizes, a lady found out just how bloody Judge Jeffreys could be. Dame Alice Lisle (or Lyle) lost her head today in 1685 after she was found guilty of housing treasonous individuals.

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Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 34)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , on August 20 by Old Sparky

20 August 1897 – Michele Angiolillo Lombardi
Italian assassin Michele Angiolillo Lombardi was executed for killing the Spanish Prime Minister at the end of the 19th century. Angiolillo was sentenced to death for shooting Antonio Cánovas del Castillo in revenge for the PM’s harsh and swift reprisal against numerous Spanish activists.

21 August 1900 – William Lacey
William Lacey did away with his wife and earned himself a death sentence for his crime.

22 August 1700 – the Rev Thomas Hunter
You’ve got to love the ‘Malefactors’ Bloody Register’. Written in the 18th century, it detailed lurid accounts of vicious felons in a bid to dissuade people from committing crimes, otherwise known as the ‘Newgate Calendar’. And that’s where we dug up our next dodgy gentleman – a reverend no less.

23 August 1305 – William Wallace
‘…they’ll never take our freedom’ was Mel Gibson’s rallying cry in the epic ‘Braveheart’, which chronicles the rise and fall of today’s main man. We are, of course, talking about Sir William Wallace, who led the Scots against the tyranny of English rule.

24 August 1821 – William Bird
William Bird was hanged on this day in 1822 for stealing. Bird was cooped up after he was found guilty of housebreaking, which was the crime of forcing your way into a house usually during the day, normally in order to rob people.

25 August 1936 – Grigory Zinoviev
Whoever said you can’t be done for the same crimes twice? Try telling that to the between-world-war Russians. Not content with doling out a 10-year sentence, the Russian government cooked up a whole new set of crimes to try an already convicted Grigory Zinoviev again.

26 August 1826 – John Green
In 1826, burglary was punishable by death. But that didn’t stop John Green from trying to pilfer items in Chesire.

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Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 33)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , on August 13 by Old Sparky

13 August 1964 – Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans
The last two executions ever carried out in England occurred in two different places at precisely the same time today in 1964. The simultaneous hangings took place at Liverpool’s Walton prison and Strangeways in Manchester. Gwynne Owen Evans and Peter Allen had bludgeoned to death 53-year-old Jack West, while burgling his house.

14 August 1936 – Rainey Bethea
The last person to be executed in public in the US was 26-year-old Rainey Bethea. Just as well it was the last, because it was a real botched job. The rapist and murderer was hanged in Owensboro in Kentucky for the murder of Lischia Edwards. He targeted 70-year-old Edwards following a life full of petty crimes, such as theft and drunkenness.

15 August 1941 – Josef Jakobs
A German spy was forced to sit down to face his fate after he broke his ankle in the run-up to his execution. Corporal Josef Jakobs, a 43-year-old wartime double agent, was put in front of a firing squad of eight Scots guards in the Tower of London during the Second World War.

16 August 1756 – John Lander
Humanity obviously passed murderous Lieutenant John Lander by. He was hanged for his barbaric crimes against boys and animals in the mid-18th century. With a month’s wages weighing his pockets down, the Chatham-based soldier teamed up with another officer to blow their pay packets by larging it in London. They boarded a post-chaise and promptly ordered the post-boy to drive the horses at full speed or they’d impale him on a sword.

17 August 1785 – Elizabeth and Martin Taylor
Just three women had the dubious honour of being hanged at Newgate during its history as an execution site. And Elizabeth Taylor was one of them. Taylor and her brother Martin were found guilty of theft after they stole from a shop and house in Highgate, London.

18 August 1809 – Susan Grant
Susan Grant was prevented from coining it in after she was done for treason. She was hanged on this day for crime for the illegal making of money. Known as coining, this was where people would either scrape metals off existing coins or melt them down to make more coins. And so Grant was caught doing exactly that.

19 August 1919 – Boonpeng Heep Lek
The last public beheading in Thailand took place on this day in 1919 and it was reserved for Boonpeng Heep Lek. Thailand operated a particularly barbaric method, where the prisoner had to sit down fastened to a wooden cross.

That’s not all folks

You probably know him as the fabled writer. But did you know Aesop was executed? Hmmm… we didn’t either until now.


The year is 560BC – sadly we don’t have a precise date. Give us a break, we’ve done some serious digging to dish the dirt.

You see Aesop had a hard life. He was born with disabilities and had been relegated to a life of servitude to one Xanthus. And there he would have languished had he not had a phenomenal wit about him.

It’s all Greek to us

It is thought he was freed and went on to defend another in a court of law before spending time at the court of Croesus. He appeared to have a good life and a degree of responsibility.

But it was the deathly combo of Croesus and the law that was to do him in.

Jury Delphi

Some say he misappropriated a silver cup, while others say he siphoned off Croesus’s riches that were originally intended for Delphi. Whichever the story, the crime appeared to be theft.

And it is at Delphi that his actions caught up with him. And if his crime was the latter, the Delphinians would have been suitably narked.

A verdict of guilty was returned and they marched the 60ish-year-old up to the top of a cliff and unceremoniously pushed him off it.

Mind you, it could have been a whole lot worse…

Lost in translation

As for his legacy, the fables, it turns out these could well have got lost in translation. The rather didactic and dour stories were probably a lot more satirical and biting in his day, according to the Independent. Just the way we like ’em.

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Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 32)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , on August 6 by Old Sparky

6 August 1890 – William Kemmler
The first person to go to the electric chair in America was William Kemmler. He was found guilty of murder after he butchered his partner. But he didn’t go quietly. Kemmler had killed his common-law wife Tilly Zeigler after he took a hatchet to her. And he was found guilty of murder in New York in 1890 and sentenced to go to the electric chair.

7 August 1890 – Anna Månsdotter
Swedish mother-in-law from hell Anna Månsdotter lost her head for strangling her son’s wife in 1890. Månsdotter targeted her daughter-in-law, Hanna Johansdotter, after she got in the way of Månsdotter’s incestuous affair with her son.

8 August 1962 – Elizabeth Duncan
A would-be incestuous fantasy fuelled today’s fiendish felon. Of course, she may come across like a cuddly mum, but don’t be deceived – it was decidedly deadly to dice with Elizabeth Ann Duncan as her daughter-in-law found out.

9 August 1856 – Elizabeth Martha Brown
A character from a classic English novel was inspired by our next unfortunate subject. Elizabeth Martha Browne was hanged for her crimes in Dorset and her poignant story was to leave a lasting impression on writer Thomas Hardy who was present at her execution – the last ever female to be hanged publicly in Dorset. As a result, her story spawned the character of Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

10 August 1949 – John George Haigh
No body = no crime, at least that’s the misconception John George Haigh laboured under during and after World War II. But the killer, better known as the acid bath murderer didn’t bank on gall stones.

11 August 1879 – Annie Tooke
Annie Tooke was sent to the gallows for infanticide. The 40-year-old baby farmer was found guilty of killing and dismembering baby Reginald Hyde, who was just six months old. She had been paid to look after the child – the handsome sum of £12 plus 25p a week for his upkeep. But she couldn’t cope and little Reginald disappeared.

12 August 1895 – Minnie Dean
Known as the Winton babyfarmer, Antipodean-based Minnie Dean was found guilty of disposing of babies for financial gain. Williamina ‘Minnie’ Dean remains the only woman to be hanged legally in New Zealand for her crimes. She was found guilty of murdering two infants and a toddler.

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