Sunday, August 14, 2011

On August 14

On this day in ...
... 1936 (75 years ago today), thousands of people crowded into a square in Owensboro, a town in western Kentucky, where they watched a public execution by hanging, the last in the United States. (photo credit) The defendant, Rainey Bethea, had been convicted of capital rape following a few minutes of jury deliberation; notably, the victim, a 70-year-old woman, had died from the attack. The media circus surrounding the event, plus changing sensibilities, led Kentucky 2 years later to join all other states by mandating that capital punishment henceforth occur behind prison walls and out of the public eye.

(Prior August 14 posts are here, here, here, and here.)

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