Thursday, November 03, 2005

 

America's Electric Chairs

In the 2nd half of the 20th Century hanging was the accepted method of executing those found guilty of committing a capitol crime. The exception was Utah where the condemned were given the choice of the gallows or a firing squad. The convicts overwhelmingly chose the bullet over the rope.

Ann Hoag and Jonas Williams were hanged together for separate crimes on July 30, 1852 in Poughkeepsie NY. Dutchess County, NY was using a new version of gallows that involved using a dropped counterweight to yank the executee to the crossbeam, hopefully breaking the victim's neck in the process. Williams' neck snapped, but Ann Hoag's didn't and she struggled violently for several minutes before finally suffocating to death. This didn't seem right to most people at the time. The murdering, raping Negro died quickly while the housewife, who was accused of poisoning her husband but claimed to her death that she was innocent, died hard.

In 1886 a New York State Legislature Commission was established to study humane methods of capitol punishment.

from

Geisha Asobi


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