Archive for the Electric chair Category

Famous last words

Posted in Death penalty, Electric chair, Firing squad, Hanged, Lethal injection on September 22 by Last Writes

Ever wondered what goes through someone’s mind as they prepare to meet their maker? We did, so here’s a compilation…

Funny one-liners

“Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries’!”
Those were the last words of one James French, as he addressed journalists there to witness his grizzly end.
Already in prison for life, James French purposely frittered away his life on 10 August 1966  by killing his cell-mate. The 30-year-old  was sentenced to the electric chair and met his frazzled end in Oklahoma.

“Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel.”
So said George Appel as he flash-fried on the electric chair on 9 August 1928 for killing a policeman.

“Why, yes, a bulletproof vest.”
The natural last request came from mobster Domonic Willard as he faced a firing squad. A few decades later, James W. Rodgers was to ask again.

“I’d rather be fishing”
Ain’t that the truth according to Jimmy L. Glass as he was angled towards a decidedly uncomfy seat in Louisiana’s electric chair on 12 June 1987. The 25-year-old was fried for murdering a middle-aged couple. His accomplice followed four days later.

“Pardonnez-moi, monsieur. Je ne l’ai pas fait expres”
Translation: Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.
Stepping on the toes of her executioner should have been the least of Marie Antoinette’s worries on 16 October 1793. The 37-year-old had a date with Madame la Guillotine on this day as a one of the key victims of the French Revolution.

Nearly botched the jobs

“Take a step forward lads – it’ll be easier that way.”
That was the handy hint issued by Robert Erskine Childers as he faced his firing squad on 24 November 1922.  A Irish nationlist, he was executed during the Civil War, apparently while his appeal was still being  processed.

“You guys doin’ that right?”
That was the question on Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams lips on 13 December 2005 , as his executioners fumbled around with the lethal injection equipment.

Plaintive pleas

“Please don’t let me fall.”
Ah the irony of the words uttered on 7 July 1865 as Mary Surratt headed up to the heady heights of the scaffold erected for her hanging.
Co-conspirator in the plan to assassinate President Lincoln, Mary Surratt’s other claim to infamy was as the first woman executed by the United States’ federal government.

“Is it safe?”
Rugeley Poisoner William Palmer seemed preoccupied with the stability of the gallows trap. But it was a moot point seeing as the 31-year-old was preparing for his public hanging on 14 June 1865. The former doctor hit the scaffold on this day for lacing his friend John Cook’s diet with strychnine, as well as killing others and cashing in on their deaths.

Bit late for that…

“Yes, no last words”
Elijah Page didn’t think that one through on 11 July 2007. The 26-year-old uttered those words during the first execution in South Dakota in 60 years. He was lethally injected for forcing a friend to drink acid, before beating him to death over a period of three hours.

Descent into hell

“I’ll be in Hell before you start breakfast! Let her rip!”
And let rip they did, because the rope around Tom ‘Black Jack’ Ketchum’s neck was too long. The 37-year-old train robber literally lost his head when it came clean off as he hanged on 26 April 1901.

“Hurry up. I’d like to be in hell in time for dinner.”
Edward H. Ruloff, a convicted serial killer rushed proceedings along  on 18 May 1871 after he was sentenced to death for killing his wife, daughter, sister-in-law and niece.
Not only was he infamous as the last person to have a public hanging in the State of New York but also because he was purported to have the largest brain in a Cornell professor’s collection.

“If anyone has a message for the Devil, give it to me – I’ll deliver it!”
Lavinia Fisher announced her offer as she faced being hanged for murder on February 18, 1820.
One half of a husband and wife hotelier team who would poison and stab residents, the Fishers were sentenced to death on 18 February 1820. At that time South Carolina women couldn’t be executed, so following her husband’s death, newly widowed Fisher rocked up for her own hanging garbed in a wedding dress. She’d hope to take advantage of the residing priest by bagging herself a would-be husband on the way to the scaffold. However as hopes of matrimony faded fast, she uttered her defiant words .

Today’s post is dedicated to the founder of this site and his lovely bride to be. All the best for your wedding day Old Sparky.

24 January 1989 – Ted Bundy

Posted in Electric chair with tags , , , , on January 24 by Old Sparky

Ted Bundy

A suave, cool and charming exterior hid a malevolent boil on the butt of humanity. We are, of course, talking about depraved sex-fiend Theodore Robert ‘Ted’ Bundy, who was executed today in 1989.

Bundy got the shock of his life when he went to the electric chair for a rape and murder fest that spanned the United States of America.

He became known as one of America’s most violent and infamously grisly serial killers.


Bundy went on a raping rampage, targeting women whom he would molest and then murder gratuituously in a four-year frenzy that took place around 1972 to 1976.

His popular choice of prey took the form of female students, and he would often decapitate his victims. With others, he’d even commit necrophilia on the rotting corpses, until decay had set in so badly, it became unbearable or impossible.

Bundy finally officially confessed to 30 murders, one as young as 12 years old. But this is a conservative figure, and only when the monsterous man was strapped to the electric chair did that finally put an end to his gratuitous killing spree.

Bundy was played by Michael Reilly Burke in the imaginatively titled film Ted Bundy.

Also on this day

24 January 1992 – Ricky Ray Rector
24 January 1846 – Elizabeth van Valkenburgh
24 January 1995 – Kermit Smith, Jr

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16 January 1936 – Albert Fish

Posted in Electric chair with tags , , , , on January 16 by Old Sparky

Albert FishFlesh-eating American serial killer Albert Hamilton Fish flippantly said ‘I don’t even know why I am here’ as he sat on the electric chair waiting to die.

Fish was an American serial killer and cannibal who was sentenced to die on this day in 1936. He boasted that he molested over 100 children, and was a suspect in at least five child killings in New York. During his violent rampage, he earned the nicknames ‘Gray Man’, ‘the Werewolf of Wysteria’ and possibly even the ‘Brooklyn Vampire’. And he did nothing to hide his guilt when the authorities finally caught up with him.  Fish readily confessed to three actual murders and he was tried for the murder of Grace Budd.

Cannibal lectures

In a cruel twist he wrote to the mother of one of his victims giving her a blow-by-blow description of what he did to her daughter. He said of 10-year-old Budd: ‘How sweet and tender her little ass was roasted in the oven. It took me 9 days to eat her entire body. I did not f**k her tho’ I could of had I wished. She died a virgin.’

Another victim, Billy Gaffney met an altogether bloodier end, having been tortured with a cat’o’nine tails and having his eyes ripped out and his ears and nose sliced off apparently while still alive. In his written confession, Fish even went as far as to give recipe instructions for how he’d roasted Gaffney.

Sexually depraved and with a history of sado-masochism, Fish was found guilty of murder and sentenced to be electrocuted at Sing Sing, New York.

After he was sentenced, Fish also admitted assaulting and strangling eight-year-old Francis X. McDonnell on Staten Island.

He was strapped to the electric chair in 1936, aged 65.

A couple of films have been made about Mr Fish including Albert Fish: In sin he found salvation starring Oto Brezina and The Gray Man starring Patrick Bauchau.

You may also be interested in his biography Albert Fish – The Werewolf of Wysteria.

Also on this day

16 January 2002 – Jermarr Carlos Arnold

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15 January 1954 – Dovie Dean

Posted in Electric chair with tags , , , on January 15 by Old Sparky

Dovie Dean‘It was my son who killed him.’ That was Dovie Dean’s desperate attempt to wheedle her way out of taking the blame for murdering her husband.

First Dean tried to lay the blame on her stepson, before attempting to stitch her own son up by asserting that he’d poisoned her 68-year-old husband Hawkins.

The couple had been married for just five short months before the death took place. Hawkins had ingested some kind of toxin, maybe rat poison, and had died a painful death.

Where there’s a will

Curiously the day before their wedding, Hawkins Dean had willed his entire estate over to her, including the 115-acre farm. And therein lay the motive. Under scrutiny resulting from dodgy lie detector tests, Dean buckled and confessed she’d killed Hawkins Dean. The grandmother’s defence was that she did it first before he killed her. Dean made out that life had been unbearable with her new husband and she had killed him in self defence fearing for her own life.

Hair today, gone tomorrow

But the jury didn’t buy it and she was made to pay with her own life. Dean was found guilty and sent to the electric chair for her crime. It was noted how calmly she took her punishment, even having her hair done the day before. At 8:03pm on 15 January 1954 in Ohio, 1,950 volts were passed through her 55-year-old body and Dean was pronounced dead at 8:07pm.

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12 January 1928 – Ruth Snyder

Posted in Electric chair with tags , , , on January 12 by Last Writes

Ruth SnyderBlack widow Ruth Brown Snyder was strapped to the electric chair at Sing Sing for killing her husband.

Murderous Snyder was after her huband Albert’s $48,000 life insurance payout. So in 1927, after a number of ineffectual attempts, the American got together with her lover Judd Gray to kill her husband. They then tried to fake it to make it look like accidental death. But they should have thought about that before they incriminatingly garotted him and rammed chloroform rags up his nose.

They were naturally found guilty of the crime. Snyder was electrocuted on 12 January 1928, followed close behind by Gray.

In pursuit of a good story, her last death throes were captured on celluloid after ‘Chicago Tribune’ reporter Tom Howard strapped a camera to his ankle to record her death. The black widow’s dying moments were then plastered all over the front page of New York’s ‘Daily News’.

If you’re hungry for more perhaps you’d like to consider reading The Double Indemnity Murder: Ruth Snyder, Judd Gray and New York’s Crime of the Century.

Also on this day

1949 – Margaret ‘Bill’ Allen

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11 January 1985 – Joseph Carl Shaw

Posted in Electric chair with tags , , , , on January 11 by Last Writes

Condemned necrophiliac Joseph Carl Shaw was the first person to be executed in South Carolina since the penalty was reinstated in 1976.

Shaw, or JC to his friends, was slammed in the electric chair for repeatedly raping 14-year-old Carlotta Hartness and killing her, plus her 17-year-old boyfriend Thomas Scofield Taylor, in 1977. He is even said to have returned to the scene of the crime repeatedly over the next few days to have sex with Hartness’ rotting corpse.

Shaw was electrocuted at the Columbia Central Correctional Institution (CCI) on 11 January 1985, aged 35.

Another accomplice was James Terry Roach, who was executed just under a year later.

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10 January 1986 – James Terry Roach

Posted in Electric chair with tags , , , on January 10 by Old Sparky

Even Mother Teresa couldn’t save James Terry Roach from the electric chair.

American-born Roach was executed on this day in 1986 for raping and murdering 14-year-old Carlotta Hartness and killing her 17-year-old boyfriend Thomas Scofield Taylor.

In the minority

But the fact that Roach was just 17 when he committed the crimes meant that he was a juvenile and should not have been eligible for the death penalty. Jimmy Carter, Mother Teresa and human rights activists all lobbied for him to be resentenced to no avail.

Thumbs up

His poignant last words were ‘To my family and friends, there is only three words to say: I love you,’ before he gave the thumbs-up to flip the switch. He was put to death aged 25 and became the second person to be executed in South Carolina following the resurrection of the death sentence in 1976.

One of his accomplices was 22-year-old Joseph Carl Shaw who was also put to death just over a year previously.

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