Cataloge of Colorado Executions:
1. JOHN STOEFEL
(a.k.a. Stofel, Stuffle). April
9, 1859. Denver. W-W. Hanging. For committing the first murder ever
recorded in the new settlement of Denver, Stoefel became the first
of five men executed under orders by Denver’s “People’s Court.”
Stoefel “confessed to shooting a fellow prospector for his gold
dust.”339 The victim was Stoefel’s
brother-in-law, Thomas Biencroff. A party of three Germans,
including an elderly man and his two sons (one of whom was Biencroff),
and a son-in-law (Stoefel, who was Hungarian) had left their camp
looking for cattle, and Stoeffel shot Biencroff during the trip.
The hanging occurred less than forty-eight hours after the murder.
At the time, Denver was part of Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory,
and had been settled for only six months. Although the settlement
only consisted of 150 buildings (mostly saloons and gambling halls),
some one thousand spectators attended the execution. A fortnight
later, the inaugural issue of the Denver newspaper, the Rocky
Mountain News, referenced the hanging.340
Moses Young. March
15, 1860. Denver. W-W. Hanging. Young was convicted by Denver’s
“People’s Court” of murdering William West with a shotgun. Both men
hailed from Leavenworth, Kansas, and were “old acquaintances, if not
Within forty-eight hours of the
murder, Young was tried before a twelve-man jury and hundreds of
spectators. The next morning, a scaffold was erected on the site of
the murder (the slain man’s house), and amid the roar of drums,
Young was marched to the gallows and hanged.342
June 15, 1860. Denver. W-W. Hanging. Gredler was convicted of
murdering Jacob Rodler, a friend and traveling companion, by
chopping off his head with an axe while passing though Denver.
Gredler, a thirty-one year- old brewer by trade, was born in Germany
and had lived in the U.S. for six years before the crime. Rodler
often quarreled with others, and even his wife, a member of the
traveling party, said that her life was better with Rodler dead.
Gredler claimed that Rodler’s wife had asked him to kill Rodler.
Between three and four thousand people attended the hanging.343
October 6, 1860. Denver. W-W. Hanging. By age twenty-three, Gordon’s
“reputation as a desperado accredited him with having killed three
or four men before he came here.”344
He was educated as an engineer
and owned a saloon in Denver. While intoxicated in a Denver bar on
July 20, 1860, Gordon shot and killed an unarmed stranger, a German
named John Gantz. Gordon escaped to Kansas but was apprehended and
taken to Leavenworth. There, after being freed briefly on a writ of
habeas corpus, he was nearly lynched by a mob of German citizens who
were angered by the atrocious nature of the crime. After being
rearrested, the authorities returned him to Denver on the morning of
September 28. His trial began that afternoon before a People’s
Court, twelve jurors, and an audience of one thousand people. Gordon
was found guilty, and was hanged the next week in front of a crowd
of several thousand.345
December 21, 1860. Denver. W-W. Hanging/Broken neck. Waters, a
farmhand born in Ireland, shot and killed Thomas R. Freeman, his
employer, near Ft. Lupton, where the two had journeyed to pick up a
load of hay. Water’s motive was to rob Freeman of the money that he
carried to purchase the hay. Once arrested two weeks after the
homicide in Nebraska and returned to Denver, Waters was taken to the
scene of the murder by a party of a dozen men who were searching for
Freeman’s body. They threatened Waters with immediate lynching if he
did not disclose the location of the body, and so he did—as the rope
was being placed over his head. Waters had no prior arrest record
and a reputation of peaceableness and honesty. He fully confessed
before his death.346
December 18, 1863. Central City. W-W. Hanging. Van Horn was
convicted of murdering Josiah Copeland. Van Horn’s mistress
allegedly lured Copeland to the scene of the murder, where Van Horn
lay in wait to kill him, although the mistress was never charged
with the crime.347
Hundreds attended the trial. To avoid
a lynching, Van Horn was taken to Denver and lodged in the Arapahoe
County jail. Thousands attended the execution, which was the first
carried out under territorial law in Colorado.348
May 24, 1866. Denver. W-W. Hanging. The two defendants, both former
Union soldiers with no prior criminal records, were convicted of
murdering two men, Isaac H. Augustus and H. Sluman, and stealing
some eight thousand dollars in gold.349
Foster was twenty and Stone was
twenty-four years old at the time of the crime.350
The murders occurred
approximately one hundred miles east of Denver.351
“Foster confessed to the crime
and implicated Stone, who denied all connection with the murder for
which he was executed, but admitted the commission of four other
murders of men in the states.”352
“There [were] probably not less
than 3,000 spectators present . . . .”353
Said the Rocky Mountain News,
“Although we hope never to witness another scene like that presented
yesterday, it is an extremely gratifying thought that the majesty of
the law is upheld by a people who are evidently looked upon by the
‘all-civilized’ people of the east as little better than
February 18, 1870. Central City. B-W. Hanging. Smith was convicted
of murder by beating and strangling to death William Hamblin, a
milkman. The murder occurred in February 1868; Smith sought to rob
the victim. Suspicion immediately fell on Smith and another African-
American, Bob Reynolds. Both were soon apprehended, and both
Reynolds, however, escaped from
custody and a week later suffered injuries while being apprehended.
He died in prison before trial. After Smith’s conviction and death
sentence, several unsuccessful efforts by local citizens were made
to save him from the gallows, including a plea to the governor.356
Approximately two thousand
people witnessed the hanging.357
(a.k.a. Meiers, Miears, or
Maier). January 24, 1873. Denver. W-W. Hanging/Broken neck. A German
immigrant and farmhand, Myers, age twenty-six, was
convicted of murdering his employer,
George Bonacina, and wounding a female companion of the employer’s,
variously described as the employer’s mistress or sister. Myers had
loaned the employer twenty-five dollars, and the murder resulted
from an argument when the employer failed to return the money. The
defense argued alternatively that the killing lacked premeditation
and it was in self-defense. Myers was first convicted in February
1872, but a motion for a new trial was granted,358
and he was again convicted
later that year. Appeals for relief to the Colorado Supreme Court,
supported by a
petition signed by over three hundred citizens, and to the governor
failed. Because the governor was out of state, the acting governor,
who later wrote his reflections on the case, made the clemency
In addition, the defense attorney, N.
Harrison, later published his criticism of both the trial judge’s
refusal to issue a writ of error and the statute under which Myers
Three thousand people attended the
February 2, 1877. West Las Animas (Bent County). B-W.
Hanging/Strangulation. Miller’s execution was the first in Colorado
after the territory achieved statehood. Miller, a
twenty-three-year-old “mulatto,” had served as a soldier with the
United States Colored Troops for the previous five years. He entered
a dance hall which was reserved for whites that night, and an
inebriated white customer forced him at gunpoint to leave. Another
white customer, John Sutherland, told the thug to leave Miller
alone. Miller and a friend, Benjamin Smith, later returned and
randomly shot into the bar, missing the thug but killing Sutherland.
Both men received death sentences; the governor commuted Smith’s
sentence. At the hanging, which the governor delayed two weeks so
Miller could join a church and be married, the trapdoor would not
open at first, and when it did, it fell to the ground. Miller
dropped through the opening in the platform, but the rope was too
long and his feet came to rest on the trap door that had fallen
below him. The trap door was quickly removed so Miller could swing
unimpeded. He hung for twenty-five minutes before expiring. Later,
the sheriff, distraught over the bungled hanging, resigned his
position and left the community.362
March 14, 1879. Pueblo. H-H. Hanging/Broken neck. Despite consistent
protestations of innocence, Nunez, a fifty-seven-year-old ranch-hand
born in Mexico, was executed for the murder of an affluent Mexican
rancher. Nunez’s alleged motive was that he “entertained an unlawful
passion” for the victim’s wife, who served as a prosecution witness.
No one immediately suspected that the victim, Luis Rascone, had been
murdered—they thought he had simply left town—while Nunez spent the
winter with the victim’s wife in Pueblo. Eventually a young Indian
girl who had witnessed the murder came forward and revealed the
story. Between twelve and fifteen hundred people witnessed the
hanging. “Among them we were astonished and pained to see many
females and a horde of children, from five years old upward. The
morbid curiosity that prompts such desires ought not to be gratified
and we hope that the next execution that occurs in Pueblo will be a
(a.k.a. Sims). July 23, 1880.
Fairplay (Park County). W-W. Hanging/Broken neck. At age twentytwo,
Simms, a prospector and miner, was convicted of murdering a friend,
John Johnson, in Alma. Simms shot and killed Johnson after some
horseplay resulted in an angry rage.364
Johnson, a Dane by birth, was
well respected in the community and had provided housing and food
for Simms in exchange for cooking and household duties.365
On at least three occasions
prior to the murder, Simms had inappropriately brandished a pistol
during various quarrels with Johnson. Simms had been arrested
several times for crimes of varying degrees of violence and was
suspected of a previous murder. His attorney protested that Simms
received an unfair trial because on the night before it began,
another prisoner, recently spared the death penalty, had been
removed from the local jail and lynched.366
This, argued the defense
attorney, led to an increased appetite for legal executions to deter
lynching. After Simms’ execution, an editorial in the
Rocky Mountain News questioned capital punishment, especially in
cases such as this where the crime was committed in the “spasm of
Approximately eight hundred people
attended the hanging.368
14. W.H. SALISBURY
(a.k.a. William H. Canty). June
17, 1881. Buena Vista (Chaffee County). W-W. Hanging/Broken neck.
After a change of venue to Colorado Springs, a jury deliberated for
four hours and convicted Salisbury, age thirtyfour, of the murder of
a Buena Vista police officer, Thomas L. Perkins. Salisbury shot
Officer Perkins four times as he attempted to arrest a friend of
Salisbury’s. Several eyewitnesses identified Salisbury, but
Salisbury argued that the friend, and not he, was the triggerman.
The execution took place in the jail yard of the El Paso County Jail
in Colorado Springs, with only an unknown number of ticketed
spectators present. Over one thousand people, however, assembled in
an open square surrounding the jail to try to get a glimpse of the
hanging. On the scaffold, Salisbury made a tearful speech in which
he insisted upon his innocence. When the trap opened, the rope broke
from the hook holding it to the scaffold, allowing Salisbury’s body
to fall to the ground. The rope was quickly reattached, and
physicians later claimed that the original fall broke Salisbury’s
neck and the broken rope caused no additional agony.369
July 29, 1881. Leadville (Lake County). W-W. Hanging. Rosengrants
was convicted on the victim’s deathbed declaration. John Langmeyer
claimed Rosengrants shot him when he found Rosengrants inside his
cabin ransacking his trunk. Rosengrants was well-respected, and his
acquaintances believed he would never rob another person’s property,
much less shoot someone. He also had an alibi witness, who did not
testify at trial because the defense attorney thought that the
witness’s alcohol abuse lessened his credibility. Rosengrants
steadfastly maintained his innocence until his death, along with a
number of Leadville citizens. He was hanged on a two-rope gallows
simultaneously with Franklin Gilbert (q.v.).370
July 29, 1881. Leadville (Lake County). W-W. Hanging/Broken neck. A
charcoal salesman, approximately thirty years of age, Gilbert was
convicted of murdering James McCollom. The state contended that
Gilbert shot and stabbed McCollom because McCollom owed him some
money. Gilbert was hanged alongside Rosengrants (above) in front of
some five thousand spectators.371
December 16, 1881. Gunnison (Gunnison County). B-B. Hanging/Broken
neck. A railroad worker and foreman of a grading crew, Coleman, age
twentyseven, was convicted of murdering another African-American, a
teamster named Albert Smith. The two had quarreled several months
before the murder over five dollars that Coleman had lost in a card
game. Coleman believed Smith had cheated him, and on July 5, 1881,
he shot Smith when Smith refused to return the money. The execution
took place before a “large crowd” in the yard of the Gunnison jail.
Coleman was intoxicated and had to be carried to the gallows.372
When the signal was given to
proceed with the hanging, the trap door failed to open, and Coleman
was removed from the gallows while the mechanism was repaired. Once
adjustments were made, it worked properly. The Pitkin Independent’s
headline after the hanging read, “Jerked to Jesus. The Negro Coleman
bids adieu to all earthly sights and takes a flying trip over the
Later, Coleman’s body was left to
freeze and bits of it were chipped off for souvenirs.374
June 23, 1882. Durango (La Plata County). W-W.
Hanging/Strangulation. Woods was executed less than one month after
he shot and murdered M.G. Buchanan. Both Woods, age thirty-four, and
Buchanan were members of the “Stockton Gang,” and both were friends
with Stockton’s widow, who had already remarried by the time of the
murder. Woods and Buchanan frequently quarreled about her,
apparently because Woods was attracted to her and Buchanan, a friend
of the widow’s new husband, tried to discourage the romance. The
murder occurred in a Durango saloon,
where both brandished weapons before Woods killed Buchanan. Woods
argued self-defense. Shortly before his execution, Woods told a
newspaper that he regretted was that he did not also kill the
woman’s new husband, Joel Estes.375
December 20, 1884. Pueblo. H-W. Hanging/Broken neck. A native of
Mexico, Garcia, age fiftyfour, did not speak English. He was
employed gathering old rags, bones, iron, etc. After a change of
venue to Pueblo, Garcia was convicted of killing his employer,
Dennis Wilkes, near Las Animas, in Bent County.376
Garcia crushed Wilkes’ head
while he lay in bed sleeping; the alleged motive was robbery. The
murder occurred after Wilkes had employed Garcia for two weeks.
Garcia abruptly left town before the body was discovered and pawned
the victim’s watch. Garcia was actually tried and convicted three
times; the first conviction was set aside by the trial court because
of errors in the trial transcript, and the second was set aside by
the trial court because of insufficiency of the evidence. A crowd of
approximately four thousand attended the execution, which, like the
trial, was held in Pueblo.377
April 24, 1885. Trinidad (Las Animas County). W-W. Hanging/Broken
neck. Hibbard was convicted of the murder of William Knowles in
Stonewall, approximately forty miles north of Trinidad. Hibbard was
living at his uncle’s ranch in Stonewall when Knowles, an elderly
man who had a large sum of money, came to visit. When the uncle left
for a trip to Illinois, Hibbard and Knowles stayed behind to care
for the ranch. Soon neighbors realized that Knowles was missing, and
their inquiries prompted Hibbard to leave town. The uncle discovered
Knowles’s body when he returned from Illinois. Upon his apprehension
in Kansas, Hibbard confessed to the murder and a long history of
other crimes, including murder and horse and cattle theft.378
December 3, 1885. Saguache (Saguache County). W-W. Hanging. Clements
was convicted of murdering his brother, Thomas H. Clements, and
sister-inlaw, Susie Y. Clements. In his written confession, Clements
accused the victims of mistreating his father and sister, who had
raised the boys and four other siblings after the mother’s death,
and living off them. Clements also called his sisters prostitutes
and blamed the victims for causing his father’s death through
physical and psychological abuse. The family had emigrated from
Ireland two years before the murders.379
At the execution, because the
sheriff “had no stomach,” an anonymous person sprung the trap with a
rope strung from the hanging scaffold to the nearby county clerk’s
Some five thousand spectators attended
February 5, 1886. Leadville (Lake County). W-W. Hanging. Minich was
convicted of murdering Samuel Baldwin, a miner who was widely
rumored to hold all his money on his person because of a distrust of
the banking system. Four robbers allegedly beat Baldwin to death,
and the fact that Minich deposited $360 in a bank on the day after
Baldwin’s death served as the only evidence connecting him to the
One self-confessed participant
fingered Minich, but he later jumped bail and, like a third suspect,
was never heard from again. The fourth man implicated in the murder
had an alibi and therefore was never tried for the crime. Meanwhile,
Minich, age thirty-seven, maintained his innocence from the time of
his arrest until the time of his death. Although the Colorado
Supreme Court acknowledged that the State’s case against Minich was
based only on circumstantial evidence, it stated: “Yet there is
woven about the defendant a web of circumstances which, coupled with
his attempted explanation thereof, point irresistibly to him as one
of the guilty parties.”383
On the gallows, Minich again
proclaimed his innocence, and then said: “Good bye to all. Good
As the local newspaper described: “The
crowd then responded with one voice, saying twice, ‘Good bye, Cy.’”385
July 27, 1886. Denver. B-W. Hanging/Strangulation . Green was
convicted of robbing and murdering Joseph C. Whitnah, a driver for
the Denver City Railway Company. Green, age twenty-five, and an
accomplice were overheard while talking in a saloon about the
murder, and within a few days Green had been arrested for vagrancy,
drunkenness, and carrying a concealed weapon—charges that were soon
replaced with a charge of murder. He had previously served time in
prison in both Colorado and Missouri for theft, and at age twelve he
had shot and wounded his father. Green argued that he simply wanted
to rob Whitnah, that he had no intent to commit murder, and that his
gun had discharged accidentally. Nonetheless, he was convicted under
the felony murder doctrine and sentenced to death. The accomplice,
after pleading guilty to second-degree murder, was sentenced to life
imprisonment at hard labor. In the twenty-five days between the
verdict and the execution, the Denver newspapers engaged in a
lengthy debate about whether the hanging should be public. This
debate continued on after Green’s death, eventually culminating in
legislation signed in 1889 that relegated all future Colorado
executions to the state prison in Cañon City. Some fifteen thousand
to twenty thousand people attended the execution, many of whom were
repulsed while they watched, for nearly twenty-three minutes, as
Green twisted and slowly suffocated to death. A century later,
University of Colorado historian William M. King authored a detailed
book about the crime, execution, and late-nineteenth century race
relations in Denver.386
(a.k.a. Mike George). August
23, 1888. Buena Vista (Chaffee County). W-W. Hanging/Broken neck. An
Italian immigrant, Femenella was convicted of murdering Irishman
William “Pat” Casey, who, like Femenella, was employed as a railroad
section hand in the city of Granite. The murder resulted from a
quarrel between several Irish and Italian immigrants about the men’s
different ethnic heritages. After his conviction, Femenella began to
claim that he killed in self-defense, a plea that may have saved him
from the gallows had he originally used it at trial.387
Governor Alva Adams deferred
the execution on three occasions. “According to prevalent opinion
here Femenella has received more consideration than would be
accorded to the majority of lifelong citizens in this community.”388
people were admitted to the jail yard to witness the hanging, and a
“large crowd” mingled outside the jail fence. He was hanged with
rope left over from that ordered from a St. Louis company to hang
Andrew Green (q.v.).389
(a.k.a. James Abram Ortiz).
July 16, 1889. Antonito (Conejos County). H-W. Hanging/Broken neck.
Ortiz was convicted of murdering O.E. LeDuc, a miner. “The murder
was one of a peculiarly revolting character.”390
LeDuc, on a short business
trip, disappeared after stopping to spend the night at Ortiz’s
cabin. His friends spent several weeks searching for him. After
tracking him to Ortiz’s home, a search party found the home
abandoned and smeared with blood, and they soon found LeDuc’s body
on the property. The evidence indicated that he had been killed with
a heavy instrument, probably an axe, while in bed. When Ortiz was
found, he wore LeDuc’s watch. The jury, which included six Mexicans,
deliberated for a full day before returning their verdict. The
execution, which took place before a “dense” crowd, occurred three
months after Governor Job A. Cooper had signed a bill prohibiting
The ban, however, did not take effect
until July 19th, three days after Ortiz’s scheduled execution.
Thereafter, all Colorado executions took place at the state prison
in Cañon City. Wrote the Rocky Mountain News, “Ortiz was
small and stunted, and a typical Mexican, stunted naturally and
morally as well as physically.”392
November 8, 1890. Trinidad (Las Animas County). H-W. Hanging/Broken
neck. Griego (Mexican) was convicted of murdering W.L. Underwood, a
merchant who ran a grocery store that catered to the Hispanic
community. Underwood’s killer hit him on the back of his head with a
hammer while he worked at the store. His hand clutched a piece of
paper, which indicated that his last sale had been to someone named
“Griego.” Upon discovering his body the next morning, the
authorities also found that Underwood’s jewelry, as well as all the
cash in the store, had been stolen. A second participant in the
crimes, an African-American named George Upton (a.k.a. John Jones),
received a sentence of life imprisonment, rather than death, in
exchange for testifying against Griego. Both men confessed to their
crimes. The execution was the first under state authority at the
prison in Cañon City. The public did not know exact time of Griego’s
execution in advance or the name of the executioner, and no
representatives from the press were permitted to witness it.393
January 17, 1891. Denver (Arapahoe County). W-W. Hanging/Broken
neck. Joyce was convicted of “one of the coldest blooded murders in
Both Joyce, age thirty-three, and the
victim, twenty-year-old John Snooks, worked at a Denver
slaughterhouse. The murder occurred on July 4, 1890, when many of
the employees had celebrated Independence Day by drinking all day,
first at work and then in a neighborhood saloon. At the bar, Joyce
and others accused Snooks of drinking more than his share of the
beer, and Snooks was thrown out. Snooks returned a few minutes later
with an empty musket and threatened Joyce with it. Later that day,
back at work, Joyce was skinning a sheep when Snooks walked by.
Joyce attacked him with the knife, killing him. Joyce was believed
to have committed an earlier murder in Kentucky, and had also been
involved in a prior assault. No journalists were permitted to
witness the execution.395
“The neck was instantly broken,
and, according to the surgeons present, the most successful and
painless execution that has ever been performed
Sept. 22, 1891. Pueblo. W–B&W. Hanging/Broken neck. Davis was
convicted, at age twenty-five or twenty-six, of murdering his foster
mother, Carrie Armsby (“a light mulatto”), and her alleged white
paramour, James Arnold, because they refused to give him money to
continue a drinking binge. The time of the execution was not
announced before the hanging, and no journalists were invited to
December 14, 1891. Walsenburg (Huerfano County). B-B. Hanging. A
thirty-year-old coal miner, Smith was convicted of killing Taylor
Sillman, a neighbor whose wife was having relations with Smith. The
affair resulted in “bad blood” and physical altercations between the
two men. Eventually, after receiving a hefty beating by Sillman,
Smith returned home, got his shotgun, and shot Sillman off his
May 6, 1892. Colorado Springs (El Paso County). W-W. Hanging. Lawton
was convicted of murdering a streetcar conductor, John Hemming,
during an attempted robbery of his streetcar. An accomplice, Albert
Russell, admitted his role in the crime to friends, implicating
Lawton. Russell was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced
to life imprisonment. Twenty-four-year-old “Lawton,” an assumed
name, refused to tell anyone his real name or anything about his
background or family.399
He spent the four hours before
his death moaning and wailing, although by the time he was executed
he had become calm.400
May 11, 1895. Littleton (Arapahoe County). W-W.
Hanging/Strangulation. Jordan was a native of Ireland and age
twenty-nine at his death. He worked at a Denver-area smelter, but
after drinking heavily and being tardy for work, he was fired. The
next day, continuing to drink heavily, he purchased a pistol and
went to the
smelter to kill the foreman who had fired him. That person was not
at the factory when Jordan arrived, but Jordan’s presence at the
smelter caused a disturbance. He instead shot a friend named
Gustavus “Gus” Gisin, a smelter watchman who had come to quell the
On death row, Jordan’s sanity was
questioned and a panel of physicians was appointed to evaluate him.
They found him to be sane. Governor Albert W. McIntire also visited
with Jordan in the prison but denied executive clemency. At the
execution, Jordan’s neck was not broken and he strangled to death.
The Rocky Mountain News asserted that Jordan and Peter
Augusta, who were hanged that same night, had “the most remarkable
records of any persons ever sentenced to execution at Canon City.
Through the law’s delays and executive clemency their lives were
prolonged by two years.”402
May 11, 1895. Littleton (Arapahoe County). W-W. Hanging/Broken neck.
Augusta was convicted of murdering Harry Sullivan (a.k.a. David
McClennigan) in a jealous rage, under the belief that Sullivan was
having an affair with the woman with whom Augusta was living. In a
dying statement, Sullivan fingered Augusta as the man who assaulted
him, saying he was stabbed while sleeping in the woman’s house.
Augusta was a forty-seven-year-old immigrant from Italy, and the
Italian consulate was among those petitioning for a commutation.403
December 13, 1895. Alamosa (Conejos County). W-W. Hanging/Broken
neck. Taylor, a thirty-twoyear- old ranchman, was convicted of
murdering Charles H. Emerson. With William Thompson, aged sixteen or
seventeen, Taylor stole a wagonload of oats. Emerson was the town
marshal and constable of Alamosa, and Taylor shot him while he
apprehended the two men for theft. Taylor used a gun given to him by
Thompson. In his final statement, Taylor told the fourteen witnesses
to the execution that the murder was not premeditated and that he
never held any malice toward the victim.404
(a.k.a. Radcliff). February 7,
1896. Salida (Chaffee County). W-W. Hanging/Broken neck. A farmer,
Ratcliff was convicted of murdering three members of the Park County
School Board: George Douglas Wyatt, Samuel Taylor, and L.F. McCurdy.
Ratcliff believed that McCurdy had slandered Ratcliff’s daughter by
claiming she was pregnant. The murders occurred at a school board
meeting. Ratcliff had gone to the meeting to demand a retraction and
apology, but when McCurdy refused to apologize, Ratcliff shot wildly
at all three men.405
Later he turned himself into the
authorities, who housed him in several jails before trial to avoid
June 26, 1896. Trinidad (Las Animas County). WW. Hanging/Broken
necks. These three codefendants were convicted of the felony murder
of a Trinidad police officer, John SoloMonday In July 1895, Romero,
age twenty-one, and Noble, age thirty-four, became acquainted with
Leonardo Martinez and Pedro Baca, who were being held in the Las
Animas County Jail pending trial for murder. Romero was serving a
jail sentence for assault, having served several previous sentences
for petty offenses. Noble had been arrested for a robbery in New
Mexico, having previously served a seven-year sentence for robbing a
Upon release from jail, Romero, Noble,
and a third man, William Holt, age twenty-one, conspired to rob the
Horse Shoe Gambling Club in Trinidad to secure funds for Martinez
and Baca’s defense. Several others, including Martinez’s mother,
also assisted with the scheme. Officer John Solomon discovered and
foiled the robbery., Solomon first struggled with Holt before Noble
shot him in the back. Holt was the first person arrested; a gun left
at the scene, which he purchased from a local pawnbroker a few days
previously, tied him to the crime. Upon interrogation by the
authorities, Holt confessed, and Romero quickly confirmed his story.
Noble was tried first, followed by a joint trial for Holt and
Romero. The convictions were affirmed on appeal.408
The three were executed in the
first triple execution in Colorado’s history. The men were executed
in alphabetical order, in private, with all details prior to the
executions kept secret. Originally the men were supposed to be
hanged in the order of their culpability—Noble, Romero, and then
Holt—but Holt was distressed that he “was called first.” Notably,
Holt had to be carried to the death chamber.409
March 6, 1905. Central City (Gilpin County). W-W. Hanging/Broken
neck. Galbraith was convicted of murdering his wife and
eight-year-old son. The Rocky Mountain News dubbed the crime
“one of the most shocking in the criminal annals of the state.”410
Shortly before the murders,
Galbraith had been dismissed from his position as a mine manager.
After the murders, he lived in Denver for one month before an arrest
for forgery; he had signed his employer’s name to one thousand
dollars worth of checks. Two days thereafter the bodies were
discovered. Galbraith confessed to the murders, detailing how he
shot his unsuspecting wife as they lay in bed together and how he
then brought his eight-year-old son into the bed and shot him.
Galbraith blamed his crimes on drinking, gambling, and a desire to
be with his paramour.411
He was thirty-four at the time
of his death, had no prior convictions, had attended two years of
college, and worked as a timekeeper in a mine.412
He faced his death stoically,
with the witnesses reportedly in agreement that he was “[t]he
bravest man that ever stepped on a scaffold in Colorado.”413
39–40. J. NEWTON
June 16, 1905. Denver. W-W. Hanging/Broken necks. The pair was
convicted in separate trials of the murder of sixty-three-year- old
Amanda E. Youngblood during an attempted robbery at her home, which
also served as a small neighborhood grocery store. Her husband
responded to a knock at the door at eleven-thirty p.m. on New Year’s
Eve, 1903, and found three men who requested to use his telephone.
Without suspicion, he invited them inside, where they immediately
announced a hold-up. Mr. Youngblood resisted. The commotion awakened
Mrs. Youngblood and the Youngblood’s son, and they entered the room
where the confrontation was taking place. The three men then
murdered Mrs. Youngblood and shot the Youngblood’s son in the jaw.
Although both defendants confessed to involvement in the crimes,
claiming they were drunk, each blamed the other for firing the fatal
shot. The third intruder, Charles Peters, age twenty-five, received
a death sentence for the murders, but his sanity was questioned and
he was never executed. Arnold, a laborer, was nineteen-years-old at
the time of his execution; Andrews, who worked for the railroads,
was two years older and had a prior arrest for burglarizing
Before their executions, the Colorado
Supreme Court upheld a new death penalty statute passed by the
Colorado legislature in 1901, ending a four year period of
September 13, 1905. Trinidad (Las Animas County). W-W.
Hanging/Broken neck. Johnson was convicted of killing John H. Fox,
“ex-county treasurer, and one of the most prominent Democratic
politicians of the county and state.”416
Johnson was a deputy sheriff
and worked as a bodyguard for a state senator. When Fox’s former
clerk was arrested in California for misappropriating Las Animas
county funds, Johnson wanted the job of going to California to
retrieve the prisoner. Fox refused to grant Johnson the appointment,
a quarrel ensued, and Johnson shot Fox with a revolver. Johnson was
immediately apprehended and admitted his guilt.417
January 12, 1907. W-W. Grand Junction (Mesa County). Hanging/Broken
neck. A native of Scotland, McGarvey was in jail awaiting trial for
the attempted criminal assault of a twelve-year-old girl when he
crushed the skull of the jailer, Edward Innes, with a piece of
firewood. He then stabbed the unconscious jailer, stole his pistol,
Innes died a few days later. McGarvey
was quickly apprehended, tried, and convicted at age twenty-three.419
July 15, 1908. Denver. W-W. Hanging/Strangulation. Alia shot and
killed a Catholic priest, Father Leo Heinrich, as Heinrich
distributed communion to Alia and other congregants during mass at
St. Elizabeth’s Church in Denver. Alia, fifty-one at the time of his
death, spent his first thirty-eight years in Italy and did not speak
English. After leaving Italy, he worked as a shoemaker in Argentina
for twelve years. He hated the Catholic Church and believed that
Father Leo had somehow mistreated him in Portugal some years before
the murder. His insanity defense, however, failed. The acting
governor did not accept pleas for clemency by the Italian government
and the Franciscan order to which Father Leo belonged. At the time
of his death, less than five months after the crime, Alia shouted “Viva
Italia” and “Viva Protestant,” and he implored God to
destroy the Roman Catholic priesthood. Because the rope slipped, it
took nineteen minutes for Alia to strangle to death.420
October 8, 1908. Pueblo. B-W. Hanging/Broken neck. On May 14, 1908,
the front-page headline in the local newspaper shocked Pueblo
residents: “Negro Drives Two White Women from Their Home and
Shoots Them Down in the Street.”421
The article identified a
neighbor, James Lynn (a Pueblo resident for twenty-two years), as
the shooter. Sarah James, sixteen, was dead, and her mother, Julia,
was wounded and “expected to die at any moment.”422
Julia, however, a widow with
six children, later recovered. She and her daughter had fled their
home when Lynn burst into it at one o’clock in the morning. The
wages Sarah earned as a “servant” to a local physician supported the
entire family of seven. Lynn, a day laborer, was infatuated with
Sarah, and was jealous when another man, who left by the rear door
as Lynn came through the front, was spending the night with her.
Lynn had a prior arrest for assaulting a man with a poker.423
After his arrest, Lynn was kept
in Colorado Springs to prevent a lynching. His trial occurred
exactly one month after the murder, and Lynn maintained his
innocence. The jury, however, returned a guilty verdict after only
fifteen minutes of deliberation.424
August 31, 1912. Denver. W-W. Hanging. Wechter was convicted of
murdering W. Clifford Burrowes, a salesman for a hardware store,
during the attempted robbery of a cafe. Burrowes had just finished
eating at the cafe when a masked robber entered, ordering everyone
to move behind the counter. Burrowes refused and was shot. The
mother and daughter who owned the cafe quickly overpowered Wechter,
disarmed him, and held him until the authorities arrived. Burrowes
died the next day. Wechter, twenty-nine, had served in the Navy for
twelve years and at the time of the crime worked in a mattress
He had killed a man in Utah a few
months prior to the Burrowes murder and was wanted by the Utah
The jury deliberated for only fifteen
minutes before returning a guilty verdict and recommending a death
On appeal, the state Supreme Court
affirmed the conviction.428
Although personally opposed to
capital punishment, Governor Shafroth declined to commute the
The prison warden, Thomas Tynan, also
opposed the death penalty and refused to participate in the
Because the time of the execution was
supposed to be secret, Wechter’s execution was postponed for
twenty-four hours after the newspapers learned its originally
scheduled time. Death was by strangulation: “For 23 minutes the
blackcapped form dangled to and fro in the shadows cast by a great
(a.k.a. James Nelson, Frank
Allen). June 24, 1915. Denver. W-W. Hanging/Broken neck. Hillen was
convicted of murdering real estate agent Thomas J. Chase during the
commission of a robbery. Several other robberies occurred in Denver
in the time period surrounding the murder.432
When arrested for brandishing
his weapons while drunk, Hillen confessed to nine of the robberies.433
The next day, he confessed to
killing Chase “because he snarled at me. I can’t stand snarls.”434
The widow said: “The lawyer who
would defend the confessed slayer of my husband is a far worse
criminal than [Hillen].”435
The Colorado Supreme Court
affirmed his conviction on appeal.436
Hillen, twenty-four at the time
of the murder, was suspected of over fifty forgeries and armed
robberies throughout the U.S., including approximately twenty
robberies in Denver during the week of the murder.437
January 28, 1916. Denver. W-W. Hanging/Broken neck. Quinn was
convicted of murdering the husband of the woman with whom he was
having an affair and who was carrying his child. Quinn used a
sawed-off shotgun and fired from close range to kill William
Herbertson, a thirtysix- year-old contractor. Quinn, thirty-two at
the time, worked as a teamster. After shooting Herbertson, Quinn
also threatened his mistress and her twenty-month-old baby. This
woman became the chief prosecution witness, but while Quinn was in
jail, she (the victim’s widow) recanted her testimony and married
him “so that the babe might be given a name.”438
She also actively attempted to
get the governor to commute the sentence. Ultimately, the Colorado
Supreme Court affirmed the conviction on appeal.439
At the execution, Warden Thomas
Tynan, an opponent of capital punishment, refused to enter the death
chamber and instead remained in his office until the prisoner was
February 26, 1916. Denver. W-W. Hanging/Broken neck. Cook was
convicted of murdering patrolman William McPherson and saloonkeeper
Andrew J. Loyd in an exchange of gunshots during a robbery of a
Denver saloon. Two men entered the saloon announcing a holdup, and
the shooting commenced when Officer McPherson, who was visiting the
saloon in uniform, reached for his revolver.441
In an ante-mortem
statement, Officer McPherson implicated two other men as the
culprits; these men were arrested but released upon the arrest of
Cook and Edward Seiwald, an accomplice. Cook, twenty-five, worked as
a miner. His arrest occurred after he requested medical care for a
bullet wound, which the state argued he received in the crossfire
but Cook said he received when trespassing in a lumberyard. Thinking
he was dying, Cook first claimed he had been wounded in a robbery.
Seiwald, who was tried with Cook for the murders, offered a more
complete confession. Seiwald, nineteen, implicated Cook as the
gunman, claiming that he (Seiwald) shot Cook after he realized that
their robbery plans had ended in murder because of Cook. At trial,
Cook argued insanity,442
but received a death sentence.
Seiwald was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to
twelve years in prison. On appeal, Cook’s conviction was vacated
because of a failure to grant a severance.443
At retrial, Cook was again
convicted and sentenced to death; this conviction and sentence were
affirmed on appeal.444
In his last words, Cook continued to
maintain that he had not fired the fatal shots. As was the custom,
the warden allowed Cook to name the exact hour of his execution.445
(a.k.a. Bosco). December 10,
1920. Pueblo. W-W. Hanging/Broken neck. Bosko was executed for the
murders of William T. Hunter and Elton C. Parks. Bosko’s brother and
accomplice, Tom, was under eighteen years of age at the time of the
and because of his young age, he
received a sentence of life imprisonment, rather than death, for his
role in the crimes. Parks, a car salesman, was demonstrating a new
car to Hunter, a ranch owner, when they picked up the two brothers.
The brothers then shot the victims and stole the car. Bosko, age
twenty-eight, worked as a ranch hand, had no prior arrests, and had
served in the Army for three years. Upon his arrest, he gave a full
confession, and at his arraignment he pleaded guilty. The
convictions were affirmed on appeal.447
The Lieutenant Governor delayed
the execution for five months so physicians could evaluate Bosko’s
sanity. At the time of the execution, Bosko’s mother “is said to
have suffered a collapse . . . and was not expected to live thru
[sic] the night.”448
August 18, 1922. Oak Creek (Routt County). W-W. Hanging. Borich was
executed for the murders of his wife and Joseph Kezele, a man who
had tried to protect Mrs. Borich when her husband started to stab
her. Borich, a fifty-one-year-old coal miner, was a “Mohammedan,”
born to Turkish parents in Serbia. Borich was executed in the prison
boiler room on a hastily built hanging machine. Prior hangings in
Cañon City had taken place in a separate “execution house.”449
(a.k.a. M’Gonnigal, McGonigle).
April 26, 1924. Trinidad (Las Animas County). W-W. Hanging.
McGonigal was convicted of murdering Wilbur N. Ferguson, a student
at the Colorado School of Mines, and Ella Centers, the daughter of
the owner of a rooming house where both Ferguson and McGonigal
lived. McGonigal, forty-two, worked as a watchman at a mine, and at
one time had been prominent in the affairs of the United Mine
Workers. He shot Ferguson inside the house, and Centers fled in
terror. McGonigal chased her and killed her with a shotgun as she
pleaded for her life. Several nearby workmen witnessed the murder.
McGonigal then returned to the house and, apparently to create a
self-defense claim, shot himself in the foot, which later had to be
amputated. The state alleged that the McGonigal committed the
murders while drunk and that he was jealous of the personal
relationship between Ferguson and Centers. McGonigal’s sole defense
was insanity, although he only proffered jail prisoners, and no
experts, to support that claim. In contrast, three psychiatrists
testified that the defendant was sane.450
On appeal, the defense attorney
failed to file an abstract of the record and brief. The court
reprimanded the attorney and cited him for contempt, but permitted
him to continue on the case.451
The conviction was later
and after the governor granted a
one-month stay of execution to evaluate McGonigal’s sanity, he was
hanged with the “old water type” gallows.453
September 18, 1926. Denver. W-W. Hanging. After being served with
divorce papers, Shank, age fifty-two, shot and killed his wife,
Marion, and their nineteenyear- old son, Paul, as he was sleeping.
Shank then beat and tried to kill their twenty-one-year-old
daughter, Ruth, but a neighbor saved her life when he disarmed
Shank. Shank, a machinist, had a history of domestic abuse but no
prior arrests. At trial, his insanity defense failed, and he was
sentenced to death for the murder of his wife. The conviction was
affirmed on appeal.454
On the eve of his execution, Shank was
quoted as saying: “This is the happiest night for me since the
tragedy . . . I know that all will soon be over.”455
November 12, 1926. Del Norte (Rio Grande County). H-H.
Hanging/Broken neck. Casias was convicted of stabbing to death
Carmen Barela (a.k.a. Barilla) on the main street of Monte Vista.
Barela, a widow, was the mother of four children, and her death
quickly led to lynching threats.456
She and Casias, a laborer, had
been friends and both were of Mexican ethnicity. Casias pled guilty
and said that the motive was jealousy. He did not speak English, and
some officials considered him “unbalanced” because for many years he
“suffered from a loathsome [unnamed] disease. There is nothing
pretty about the case of Antonio Casias.”457
“He went to his death with the
singular distinction of being the only prisoner ever executed in
Colorado over whom no one displayed the slightest concern.”458
March 30, 1928. Hot Sulphur Springs (Grand County). W-W. Hanging.
The two cousins were convicted of the robbery and murder of Fred N.
Selak, a sixty-five-year-old hermit. Noakes and Osborn hanged Selak
from a tree on his property, motivated not only by robbery but by a
feud between the parties over a road owned by Selak that Osborn and
Noakes needed to use to remove lumber from a nearby property. Selak
had forbidden Osborn and Noakes from using his road. Osborn had been
previously arrested and fined for assaulting Selak. Osborn was a
lumberjack and twenty-two years old at the time of the crime. Noakes
was also a lumberjack and twenty at the time of the crime. The two
cousins were very close, having been raised as brothers for the
previous fifteen years. Upon their arrests three weeks after the
murder, for purchasing items with coins owned by Selak, the men
confessed and directed authorities to where the body was still
At trial they pled not guilty by
reason of insanity, and their convictions and death sentences were
affirmed on appeal.460
Governor William H. Adams, though a
strong foe of the death penalty, did not find grounds for
even though Warden Francis E. Crawford
and others traveled to Denver to plead the case.462
January 10, 1930. Denver. W-W. Hanging/Strangulation. A career
criminal who had served five prior prison terms and was suspected in
over one hundred Denver burglaries,463
Ives, forty-six at the time of
his hanging, received a death sentence for the murder of Denver
police officer Harry R. Ohle. Ives and an African-American friend,
Henry Hill, had gone to a house in Denver that offered primarily
black customers liquor and the services of prostitutes. While there,
the police raided the house. The customers scattered, and Officer
Ohle was shot as he searched under a bed. Mrs. Reese, the
proprietor, was also shot and killed that night, but no one ever
stood trial for that murder. Another officer was wounded.464
Although no one witnessed the
murder of Officer Ohle, Ives possessed the gun used in the murder
when he was arrested. Ives maintained his innocence, blaming the
murder on Hill, and appealed his conviction to the Colorado Supreme
Court under a law that prohibited the execution of anyone convicted
solely on circumstantial evidence. The court, however, found the
evidence sufficient to sustain the conviction and sentence.465
Alleging insanity, Ives was
granted a short stay of execution so psychiatrists could examine him
but this motion was unsuccessful. Shortly before the execution,
Warden Crawford traveled to Denver to meet with the Governor William
H. Adams to support the insanity claim and appeal for clemency.466
This, too, was unsuccessful. In
his final statement, Ives continued to profess his innocence.467
The hanging was horribly
botched. When the weight was dropped to jerk Ives upward, he
accelerated skyward, but because Ives weighed only eighty pounds,
the rope fell off the pulleys and Ives fell back to the ground. He
was semi-conscious but yelled that “you can’t hang a man twice.”468
He was wrong. The second time
the machinery worked, although it failed to break his neck.469
May 28, 1930. Denver. W-W. Hanging/Strangulation. Weiss was
convicted of the murder of his estranged wife. Both were Jewish
Romanian by birth. Mrs. Weiss had sought alimony support from him
for their three children, who, shortly before the murder, had been
hospitalized for malnourishment. On the night of the murder, the
couple went for a car ride to discuss payment, but a quarrel ensued
and Mrs. Weiss jumped from the car. Weiss, age twenty-six and a
proprietor of a cleaning establishment, then fired five shots at her
with a gun he had purchased earlier that afternoon.470
Weiss picked her up and carried
her into a neighboring home until the police and medical personnel
arrived. “I hated her because she wouldn’t stop loving me,” said
Weiss upon his arrest.471
His wife had filed for divorce
three times before she was murdered, but the couple reconciled after
the first two.472
The conviction was affirmed on appeal.473
(July 10, 1930), HOWARD
(July 18, 1930), and GEORGE
(a.k.a. Bill Messick) (July 18,
1930). Lamar (Prowers County). W-W. Hanging/Broken neck,
strangulation, strangulation. This trio killed four men in
connection with a $220,000 robbery of the First National Bank in
Lamar on May 23, 1928. The three men killed bank president A. Newton
Parrish and his son, cashier John F. Parrish, at the scene. The
three also took E.A. Kesinger, a teller at the bank, hostage and
later murdered him in Kansas. In Kansas, the villains abducted Dr.
W.W. Wineinger, a physician, and forced him to treat Royston, who
had been wounded during the shoot-out in the bank. After Wineinger
rendered care, the trio murdered him as well with a gunshot wound to
the back of his head. Rewards totaling seven thousand dollars,
including one thousand dollars from the
were immediately offered, and stories about the murders dominated
On appeal, Fleagle claimed that the
state promised him a sentence of life imprisonment in exchange for
his confession and guilty plea for the murder of the bank president.
The court agreed, but also stated that the district attorney did not
explicitly ask the jury for death and that the district
attorney did not have the power to usurp the jury by promising a
sentence of life.475
Royston and Abshier also confessed,
pled guilty, and had their convictions and sentences affirmed on
Fleagle was hanged a week before the
and Abshier and Royston were permitted
to decide that Abshier would be hanged before Royston.478
At the time of the hangings, a
fourth member of the gang, Ralph’s brother Jake Fleagle, had not
been apprehended, but a detective subsequently killed him in
August 20, 1930. Denver. H-H. Hanging/Broken neck. A railroad
section hand, Herrera, age twenty-one, was convicted of murdering
his wife, Maria, by firing four shots into her in the street outside
One of the bullets entered through her
back. At first Herrera insisted that his wife had committed suicide,
but quickly admitted that he had killed her.481
Later he gave what the state
Supreme Court labeled—in affirming the conviction—as inconsistent
and self-contradictory statements.482
Shortly before his death,
Herrera told to a priest that he was a fullblooded Navajo Indian,483
although prison records, the
Colorado Supreme Court, and the Denver Post classify him as
having Mexican ethnicity and born in New Mexico.484
He accepted full responsibility
for the murder before his execution.485
December 12, 1930. Denver. H-W. Hanging. Moya was convicted of
murder by beating to death Joseph Zemp, his eighty-year-old
landlord, in the course of a robbery. Moya, born in New Mexico and
of Mexican ethnicity, argued self-defense. Zemp’s body was found
stuffed in an outhouse. Eight years prior to this murder, Moya had
been tried and acquitted for a New Mexico murder, but he received a
prison term of six to eight years for perjury during that trial.486
The Colorado murder conviction
was affirmed on appeal.487
He was thirty-three at the time
of his execution.488
January 30, 1931. Eads (Kiowa County). W-W. Hangings/Strangulations.
After robbing a bank in Manter, Kansas—a deed that earned them the
nickname “Manter bandits”—the defendants fled to Colorado, where
local authorities had been notified of their crime. While passing
through Eads, Sheriff Coral A. Hickman stopped the trio, who then
shot and killed the sheriff. The bandits continued their escape and
later shot at three men, wounding two of them. The three then stole
a car and fled back to Kansas before they were apprehended. All
three defendants fully confessed to the murders as well as to
between seven and ten bank robberies. The Colorado Supreme Court
affirmed their convictions on appeal.489
Walker was forty-one, Ray, the
triggerman, was twenty-three, and Halliday, who shouted to Ray,
“[l]et him have it” at the time of the murder,490
was twenty-two when they were
executed. The men were allowed to choose the order of the
executions, which they determined by flipping coins.491
The one-thousand-pound weight
on the gallows failed to break the men’s necks, and all three died
The murders provoked strong sentiment
for a return of capital punishment to Kansas, which had abolished it
in 1907 and had not hosted an execution since 1870.493
December 11, 1931. Greeley (Weld County). W-W. Hanging. Foster was
convicted of the murder of his wife and three children by dousing
them with gasoline and lighting them afire. Foster, age forty-five,
was a salesman without prior criminal record. Foster’s attorney did
not appeal because he did not believe that the court committed any
error. Before the execution, Foster’s attorney and three prison
officials expressed their belief that Foster was insane, as did the
head of the Colorado Psychiatric Hospital who had examined Foster
during the trial. Governor William H. Adams, however, who had never
commuted a death sentence during his three terms in office, refused
67. E.J. FARMER.
March 18, 1932. Craig (Moffat County). W-W. Hanging. A rancher,
Farmer became involved in a dispute with two other ranchers, Earl
Hopkins and Joe J. Jones, over the ownership of some hay located on
Farmer’s ranch. The dispute ended when Farmer shot the two men.
Farmer’s son-in-law witnessed the murders. Farmer first argued
self-defense, but at trial he argued an insanity defense. On appeal,
the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the conviction.495
While on death row Farmer twice
attempted suicide. Despite Colorado’s statute that greatly
restricted attendance at executions, thirty people witnessed the
hanging, including some relatives of Farmer’s victims.496
May 27, 1932. San Luis (Costilla County). Other-W. Hanging. Maestas
was convicted of the murder of Ben Addis, a cookie salesman, near
Fort Garland. Addis and his sister were sleeping in their car,
parked on the roadside, when Maestas and a companion, Agipito
Fernandez, awakened them. Addis and his sister tried to escape, but
Maestas shot Addis, who died the next day. Fernandez’s trial ended
with a directed verdict of not guilty. Maestas, an exconvict who was
inebriated the night of the crime, admitted to the shooting,
initially claiming that it had been done in selfdefense. On appeal,
he argued that although the state may have been able to prove
second-degree murder, the proof of deliberate and premeditated
design was insufficient to sustain a verdict of first-degree murder
because of his inebriation.497
twenty-five-years-old, and half-Navajo Indian and half-Mexican. At
240 pounds, he was the heaviest man ever hanged in Colorado.498
(a.k.a. Nelivelt Elliott).
March 10, 1933. Gunnison (Gunnison County). B-W. Hanging. Age twenty
and drunk at the time of the crime, Moss killed an eighty-year-old
white woman, Rena Schrienbeck, in retaliation for her racial slur
and her accusation that he stole twenty dollars from her. Her body
was found in a bed among the ashes of her home, which had burned to
the ground. An autopsy revealed that she had been struck with a
heavy object before the fire began.499
Moss, who confessed to the
murder, had once received a ten-year sentence in Mississippi for an
unknown crime but had escaped after serving only forty days. Some
sixty legislators and state employees, curious about execution
methods, witnessed the execution.500
(a.k.a. John Morgan). December 1,
1933. Grand Junction (Mesa County). W-W. Hanging/Strangulation.
Jones became the forty-fifth man, and the last, to be hanged in the
state prison in Cañon City.501
After he was sentenced to hang,
the Colorado legislature changed its method of execution from
hanging to asphyxiation.502
He was convicted of the murder
of Hartford Johnson, a fellow tramp. His accomplice, Montad J.
Nelson, received a life sentence for his role in the crime. Jones
and Nelson plotted to rob two fellow tramps traveling on a train.
Each armed himself with a heavy bolt and struck one of the men, and
then, together, they threw the victims off the train. Jones’s
victim, Hartford Johnson, died; the other victim lived and testified
at trial. The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the conviction on
Jones’s execution was postponed one
week so that he could enjoy Thanksgiving.504
As his last request, Jones
asked for some beer, and Warden Roy Best obliged by giving him two
bottles. “A blizzard howled a dirge around the gray prison walls as
the twenty-three-year-old, two hundred-pound slayer was jerked from
his feet in the hemp noose . . . .”505
Jones took fourteen minutes to
strangle to death.506
June 22, 1934. Delta (Delta County). W-W. Asphyxiation. Kelly and an
accomplice, Lloyd Frady, were convicted of the murder of rancher
Russell Downing by beating him with a pipe, binding him with barbed
wire, and then burning down his house. The defendants were tried
separately. Both blamed the murder on the other, and both were
sentenced to death. Kelley claimed that he was very drunk at the
time of the murder and remembered very little, but he insisted on
his innocence until the time of his death.507
His conviction was not
The preparations for the execution
were extensive. Fifteen Colorado physicians arrived at the prison to
witness the execution, anxious to learn about the effects of the
gas. “The gruesome custom of ‘cutting the heart out,’ which has been
practiced for years following hangings, to make certain of death,
will be abandoned with the new method of execution.”509
A few days before the
execution, the gas chamber was tested on a pig, which squealed and
struggled momentarily before proving that the chamber worked. The
warden also tested it with a dog, a pigeon, and some canaries. After
Kelley died, “Warden Best pronounced the execution the most
successful and painless one ever conducted at the penitentiary.”510
Hundreds of requests were
received from physicians from all over the country for copies of the
In exchange for his testimony against
Kelley, Frady received a recommendation for a conviction for
second-degree murder, with no death sentence, from the district
attorney, but the jury nonetheless sentenced him to death. After
Kelley’s execution, Frady argued on appeal that the judge should
have accepted this agreement. His conviction and death sentence,
however, were affirmed, although the Colorado Supreme Court
recommended to the executive branch that the sentence be commuted.512
In 1935, his sentence was
commuted and he became wealthy in prison selling “curio goods,” such
as leather work, beaded arts, and silver jewelry. With the earnings,
he purchased a new home for his parents and a new car for himself,
which was waiting for him at the prison gates when he was released
May 31, 1935. Greeley (Weld County). H-W. Asphyxiation. “Two
fiendish killers invaded the ranch home of Clifford Smith, 32, . . .
shot Smith and Robert Griffin, 16, a ranch hand, to death, wounded
Mrs. [Violet] Smith and then fled after an unsuccessful attempt to
cremate all three victims.”514
Griffin was shot first as he
lay in bed, and later the Smiths were shot when they returned home
from an outing. Two brothers—John Pacheco, twenty-two, and Louis
Pacheco, a thirty-seven-yearold ex-convict recently released from
prison—who at one time had worked for Smith, ultimately confessed to
the crime. The brothers had two motives: robbery of fifty dollars
that Smith was known to have and arguments over the rustling of a
calf. At trial, Mrs. Smith identified the brothers and also
described an “attack upon her person” after she had been shot, which
may have been a sexual assault.515
The convictions were affirmed
As the brothers sat in two of the
three chairs in Colorado’s gas chamber, they were “[s]tolid as a
pair of Aztec idols.”517
June 21, 1935. Greeley (Weld County). W-W. Asphyxiation. Belongia
was convicted of the murder of a rancher, Albert E. Oesterick. He
killed the rancher and wounded the rancher’s wife as they lay
sleeping in their beds, and beat the couple’s thirteen-year-old son
over the head with a rifle. Belongia, aged twenty-four at the time,
worked for the rancher as a sheepherder, receiving room and board in
compensation. He murdered Oesterick because he felt he was underpaid
and needed money so he could marry. He fully confessed upon his
arrest. Shortly before the murder, Belongia had been released from a
Minnesota prison, where he had served a sentence of eight years for
At trial, he admitted the crimes. A
physician also testified, rendering the opinion that Belongia had
the mentality of a ten-year-old.519
Belongia welcomed the death
sentence and made no attempt to avoid it. His last request was for
an opportunity to will his body to a medical school so scientists
could examine his brain and determine what made him a murderer.520
The offer was accepted by the
medical school at the University of Colorado in Denver, but then
rejected because no one offered the ten dollars needed to ship the
body to Denver.521
After his death, the Denver Post
published a letter he dictated explaining his own thoughts on
what had caused his criminality.522
February 14, 1936. Telluride (San Miguel County). W-W. Asphyxiation.
McDaniels, age thirty, and his brother Herbert, age twenty, robbed
and bound a Montezuma County sheep rancher, leaving him to die of
exposure and starvation in his isolated cabin. Once arrested, they
were held in the jail of neighboring Glenwood Springs to maximize
security. Two months later, on the ride back to Montezuma County for
arraignment, they overpowered the sheriff, W.W. Dunlap, and a deputy
who were transporting them. The brothers grabbed a gun, which Otis
used to murder Sheriff Dunlap.523
Otis received a life sentence
for the first murder and a death sentence for the second, while
Herbert received life sentences for both. Otis admitted the murders,
but said that they were unintended. He had served previous prison
terms in Utah and New Mexico. The warden allowed four other convicts
to witness the execution.524
(August 13, 1937) and JOE
(a.k.a. Arrdy) (January 6,
1939). Pueblo. (H-W and Other-W). Asphyxiation. Aguilar and Arridy
were convicted of the August 16, 1936, murder of Dorothy Drain. The
men were accused of breaking into the Drain home, sexually
assaulting Dorothy, and then killing her and seriously wounding her
younger sister with a hatchet. In 1925, Arridy, who was born in
Pueblo shortly after his parents immigrated from Syria, had been
adjudicated as mentally incompetent and sent to “[t]he State Home
and Training School for Mental Defectives” in Grand Junction. At the
institution, his IQ was measured at forty-six. He was released after
a nine-month stay, but three years later returned to the
institution. In 1936, he walked away from the Home and was not seen
until his arrest in Wyoming sixteen days later—ten days after the
murder. There he offered the first of many confessions to the crime,
with each confession changing a bit to conform with newly discovered
facts. Arridy’s arrest surprised officials in Pueblo, who had
already arrested Aguilar, a Mexican national, for the murder and
discovered the murder weapon in Aguilar’s home. The Wyoming
authorities then secured a confession from Arridy in which he said
that he had acted alone in the murder. A jury trial first was
conducted to determine if he was sane, where three psychiatrists
testified that Arridy had the mind of a five or six-year-old child.
Law enforcement officials, however, claimed that he was sane, and
that position prevailed, even without the support of any mental
health experts. Arridy was then convicted of murder in a separate
jury proceeding, in which the defense attorney again focused on
proving that Arridy was insane rather than challenging the
“evidence.” The conviction was affirmed on appeal, and further
attempts to show that Arridy was mentally incompetent for execution
failed, each time by four-to-three votes in the Colorado Supreme
Meanwhile, Aguilar was executed in
During the execution, one of the
official witnesses, Adlai S. “Ad” Hamilton, a Pueblo resident and
conductor for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, had a heart attack and
During his eighteen months on death
row, Arridy became close friends with the warden, Roy Best. The
warden, who spoke out against the pending execution, bought him
toys, picture books, and for Christmas in 1938, a wind-up toy train
that quickly became Arridy’s favorite toy.528
Arridy’s appellate attorney was
Colorado’s future attorney general, (Mr.) Gail Ireland. Later, the
case formed the basis for a seminal book-length case study written
by Robert Perske. Among other things, the book explains how the
desire to please through false confessions, coupled with ineffective
assistance of counsel and an environment in which there was little
concern for understanding the mentally retarded, may very well have
cost an innocent person his life.529
September 29, 1939. Salida (Chaffee County). W-H. Asphyxiation. A
native of Italy,530
Catalina, forty-one, was executed for
the murder of twenty-three-year-old John Trujillo. Catalina was the
proprietor of a cigar store, in which he allowed gambling. Trujillo,
a customer, purchased some poker chips, but a quarrel erupted
because Trujillo owed Catalina fifty cents more than he paid and
Trujillo openly accused other players of cheating. The quarrel ended
when Catalina shot him.531
The conviction was affirmed on
Prior to the execution, the warden
used a pig to test the gas chamber’s lethality. He invited twenty
inmates to watch the pig’s death—mostly young men convicted of armed
robbery— believing that watching the spectacle death would deter
them from future criminality. Catalina was executed in Colorado’s
three-seat gas chamber with Angelo Agnes (q.v.), with warden Roy
Best serving as the executioner. They were “[t]he quickest and most
humane execution[s] we ever had,” said prison officials.533
Later, the prison revealed that
leaking fumes drove spectators from the room.534
September 29, 1939. Denver. B-B. Asphyxiation. Executed for killing
Malinda Agnes, his wife. He was thirty-one at the time of his death.
The couple was living with Malinda’s mother and brother, and Angelo
left after a domestic quarrel. Two weeks later, they met at another
location and he shot her.535
Agnes had a prior conviction
December 8, 1939. Denver. W-W. Asphyxiation. Leopold was convicted
of the murder of a Denver tavern owner, Emil Albrecht. Leopold, age
thirty at the time of his execution, had been paroled from the State
Penitentiary in Cañon City in September 1936, where he had served a
sentence for aggravated assault. He and a prison friend, Robert
Gwynne, robbed Albrecht’s tavern and shot Albrecht, killing him
instantly. After the men fled in a taxi, police confronted them
about three hours after the murder. In the ensuing shoot-out, police
killed Gwynne and wounded Leopold. As a newspaper recounted: “Less
than three hours after a pair of gunmen shot and killed a tavern
keeper last night, one of them was a bullet-riddled corpse and the
other was a badly wounded prisoner.”537
Leopold later confessed,
stating that the murder was accidental. On a failed appeal, Leopold
only contested the sentence, not the sentence.538
At Leopold’s request, warden
Roy Best delayed the execution for thirty minutes so Leopold could
listen to a favorite radio show.539
Leopold was put to death in
“the quickest and cleanest gas execution ever held at the prison.”540
January 10, 1941. Denver. B-W. Asphyxiation. Employed in the
commercial sex industry as a pimp, Coates was convicted of the
murder of Denver police detective Frank Renovato. Coates had
previous convictions for petty offenses, such as vagrancy and
disorderly conduct, and also had seven arrests in the previous four
years. The murder resulted from an argument between Coates, his old
girlfriend whom he was pimping, the man she was living with, and
their landlord. Coates threatened the woman’s paramour and landlord
with a gun, and the landlord rushed to find a police officer. The
landlord returned to the scene with Detective Renovato, whom he
found on a nearby street. A shootout ensued, and Detective Renovato
was killed in the crossfire.541
identified immediately after the murder by an eyewitness543
and was arrested six days after
Upon arrest, he admitted firing the
fatal shots but claimed they were in self-defense. The district
attorney, however, announced that he would demand a death sentence.545
Within two months, “Joe Coates,
61, the shuffling, stoop-shouldered Negro known as ‘the bad man of
Larimar Street,’ was condemned to die . . . .”546
The conviction and sentence
were affirmed on appeal,547
although the Colorado Supreme
Court delayed the execution at least four times.548
After visiting with Coates,
Governor Ralph L. Carr denied clemency. A newspaper described the
execution as “the easiest and quickest death of any of the fourteen
men” who had succumbed in Colorado’s gas chamber.549
(a.k.a. “Mancos Jim”). June 20,
1941. Cortez (Montezuma County). W-W. Asphyxiation. Stephens was
convicted of murdering Lynn Dean, town marshal of Mancos, Colorado.
Stephens worked as a railroad section hand. On the night of the
murder, Stephens had been drinking heavily and was belligerent, and
Officer Dean told him to go home. When Stephens instead went to
another tavern, Dean arrested him but did not inspect him for hidden
weapons, and Stephens then shot Dean. The conviction was affirmed on
At the time of the execution, the
warden claimed that Stephens, age seventy-six, was the oldest person
ever executed in the history of the United States. In the death
chamber, Stephens wiggled his left hand out of the strap that bound
it to the chair, removed the mask covering his face, loosened his
right hand and the waist strap holding him to the chair, sang a
Navajo death chant, and waited calmly for the gas to hit his
May 22, 1942. Colorado Springs (El Paso County). W-W. Asphyxiation.
Suckle was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of his
second wife’s “partner in illicit relations,” Jack Russell.552
Sukle was also arrested, but
never tried, for killing this wife, Marie. A thirty-five-yearold
janitor, Sukle first killed Russell and two days later killed Marie.
Notably, Sunkle had served three years in prison in Montana for
attempting to murder his first wife. Upon his arrest, Sukle, an
employee of a psychiatric hospital, gave a full confession. On
appeal, the conviction for Russell’s murder was reversed because
during deliberations, the jury forwarded a question to the judge
about whether the defendant, if sentenced to life, would be eligible
for parole. The judge answered that he would be eligible, and the
Colorado Supreme Court ruled that this question was not within the
jury’s proper concern.553
Sukle was retried, reconvicted,
and resentenced to death, and this conviction and sentence were
affirmed on appeal.554
After visiting with him in prison,
Governor Ralph L. Carr denied the request for clemency.555
October 23, 1942. Pueblo. W-W. Asphyxiation. Fearn received a death
sentence for kidnapping, raping, torturing, and shooting a
sixteen-year-old high school student, Alice Porter, the daughter of
a former Pueblo detective. Thirty-six hours before the murder,
Fearn’s wife gave birth to their second child. Fearn abducted the
victim at gunpoint off a Pueblo street and took her to an abandoned
ranch. He forced her to disrobe, bound her, and burned her two dozen
times with a wire he had heated in the fireplace. He then raped her,
beat her over the head with a hammer, and shot her to make sure she
was dead. Her body was later found in a cistern. During the crimes,
a heavy rainstorm passed over the area that caused Fearn’s car to
sink in mud. As a result, Fearn had to walk several miles for
assistance, which led to his arrest. Fearn, a twenty-six-year-old
railroad brakeman, immediately confessed.556
He had no prior arrests, but,
in his confession, told authorities that since childhood he had felt
an uncontrollable urge to commit this type of crime. Fearn believed
that he deserved to die. He did not appeal his conviction and was
executed six months after the crimes. His last request, for a bottle
of beer, was honored. The victim’s father and two of her uncles
witnessed the execution.557
September 20, 1943. Colorado Springs (El Paso County). W-W.
Asphyxiation. Sullivan was convicted of sexually assaulting and
murdering Carrie Winona Culbertson, whom he believed had mistreated
his employer the previous summer.558
Sullivan went to Culbertson’s
home to deliver some mail and using a letter opener he found there,
stabbed her to death. Upon his arrest, Sullivan, a forty-twoyear-
old handyman, was described as a “decidedly subnormal person” by the
His confession was the state’s main
evidence against him at trial, where the experts were “practically
unanimous” in their opinions that Sullivan had limited intelligence.560
On appeal, Sullivan’s attorneys
challenged the death sentence, arguing that Colorado’s restriction
against executing people under age eighteen did not allow execution
of people with subnormal intelligence. This appeal failed, and
Sullivan went to his death with little debate about the propriety of
executing the mentally retarded.561
October 8, 1943. Denver. A-A.562
Asphyxiation. The owner of a
restaurant, Honda quarreled with his wife, Mary, over her failure to
design menus for the day and because, as he told authorities, he
felt that she never loved him. He then stabbed her to death in the
lobby of the Denver hotel where they lived.563
Honda, thirtyseven, had no
previous record of criminality. He was tried in an atmosphere of
anti-Japanese sentiments in the middle of World War II. Efforts to
delay the trial until after the war ended did not succeed. The
conviction was affirmed on appeal.564
Honda used his last statement
to express his hope that America would win the war.565
(a.k.a. Metzgar). June 22, 1945.
Denver. W-W. Asphyxiation. Potts was convicted of murdering his
wife, Mary. Potts beat her to death and then buried her in the
basement of their home. Neighbors, knowing that relations between
the couple were precarious and that Potts had a history of spousal
abuse, became suspicious when they did not see Mary for several
weeks. Potts explained that she had gone to visit relatives in
California. Neighbors, however, called police when they saw Potts
carrying a pick and shovel into his house. When the police
confronted him nearly seven weeks after the murder, Potts confessed
and directed them to where he had buried the body.566
Potts, thirty-nine at the time
of the crime, had worked for Western Electric as a shipping clerk
for the previous fourteen years and had no prior arrests. The
conviction was affirmed on appeal.567
The execution was described as
November 9, 1945. Littleton (Arapahoe County). W-W. Asphyxiation.
Silliman was arrested for killing his wife, Esther, and
four-year-old daughter, Patricia, by poisoning them with strychnine.
He was convicted of the former murder but was not tried for the
latter. Silliman, thirty-four, worked at a truck freight dock. In
his confession given shortly after his arrest, Silliman said that he
and his wife had entered into a murder-suicide pact because of
indebtedness, but that he lost nerve when it was time to kill
His insanity defense at trial failed.
Shortly before the execution, two psychiatrists concluded that he
was insane, but neither the Colorado Supreme Court nor the governor
intervened to stop the execution.570
His execution was delayed two
hours while approximately 550 Fremont County merchants and farmers
enjoyed a previously scheduled banquet at the prison.571
November 23, 1945. Littleton (Arapahoe County). W-W. Asphyxiation.
Martz was convicted of murdering a three-year-old girl, Kathleen
Geist. Martz beat, strangled, and mutilated Geist, whose body was
found crammed under a kitchen sink. Martz had lured the girl away
from her mother at a tavern. A Denver police officer noticed Martz
walking with the girl and remembered where they went, and this led
to the discovery of the victim and to Martz’s arrest. When arrested,
just two hours after the murder, Martz claimed he remembered
abducting the girl, but because he was so drunk, he could not
remember what he did with her. He stuck to this statement until the
time he died. Martz, aged thirtythree at the time of the crime, was
a staff sergeant stationed at Fort Logan, where he worked as a cook.
He had no prior convictions,572
and this conviction was
affirmed on appeal.573
A day before the scheduled execution,
Martz was examined by a psychiatrist, at the order of a district
court judge, to determine competence for execution.574
The judge, however, ultimately
concluded that Martz was sane, and he was executed on schedule.575
May 23, 1947. Denver. B-B.576
Asphyxiation. Brown was
convicted of murdering Evelyn Smith, his paramour. Brown, age fifty
at the time of his death, had served six years of a ten-year
sentence in Missouri for armed-robbery. He and Smith had gone to a
social gathering, and Brown became jealous over attentions paid to
her by another man and her refusal to leave the party and return to
Brown’s room with him. Brown left the party, returning with a
shotgun a short while later, again demanding that Smith leave with
him. She refused, and Brown shot her.577
At trial, Brown pleaded not
guilty by reason of insanity, but this failed, and the
conviction was affirmed on appeal.578
The execution was described as
(a.k.a. Philip King). June 20,
1947. Ft. Collins (Larimer County). W-W. Asphyxiation. Gillette was
executed for the murder of Glen Cook, a ranch foreman. Gillette
stood outside Cook’s house and shot him in the back while he sat in
his living room. Gillette then entered the house, tied Mrs. Cook to
a bed, locked two youngsters in a room, stole a small amount of
property, and absconded in the victim’s car. Gillette had worked as
a ranch hand at the ranch and said that he killed Cook when Cook
learned that Gillette, in an effort to hide his previous record of
criminality, had been using an assumed name. At trial, Gillette
pleaded guilty and was bitter that the jury still imposed a death
sentence. Later, he was angry that the governor did not commute his
No appeal was taken. Gillette was
thirty-one at the time of his death. He had served previous prison
terms in five states.581
January 7, 1949. Golden (Jefferson County). W-W. Asphyxiation. A
restaurant cook, Battalino was fired by the owner, Michael H.
Randolph, who accused him of stealing money from the cash register.
Along with another restaurant employee, Archie Miller, Battalino
kidnapped Randolph at gunpoint, drove him to a rural area, and stole
$450 from him. Battalino then shot Randolph in the forehead. The
body was discovered several weeks later. Upon their arrests, both
Miller and Battalino confessed. At trial, Battalino argued an
insanity defense, but this failed. His conviction was affirmed on
At the time of his execution,
Battalino, thirty-nine, spat at a priest, stated to the warden “I
hate your guts,” and that he looked forward to joining his friends
Miller was acquitted for his role in
December 16, 1949. W-W. Akron (Washington County). Asphyxiation. A
triple-murderer, Schneider was executed for the robbery-murder of
gas station owner Frank J. Ford. Schneider abducted Mr. Ford from
his Denver gas station in September 1947, and his body was
discovered one month later approximately one hundred miles northeast
of the city. A concussion, caused by a blow from a tire iron, and a
gunshot caused Mr. Ford’s death. One month after the murder,
Schneider was apprehended in Kentucky when he tried to cash a check
that Ford once possessed. Schneider soon offered a complete
confession, not only to the murder of Ford but also to two other
robbery-murders in Michigan gas stations committed after Ford was
slain. This confession led authorities to Ford’s body. At trial,
Schneider pled not guilty by reason of insanity, but three
physicians testified to his sanity. The Colorado Supreme Court
affirmed the conviction,585
and the U.S. Supreme Court
The trial judge visited
Schneider in his death row cell just three hours before the
execution. Schneider was twenty-five at the time of his death.
Approximately fifty people crowded around the gas chamber to watch
his final moments.587
October 26, 1951. Denver. W-W. Asphyxiation. Berger was sentenced to
death for murdering his wife, Pauline. For at least five years prior
to the murder, Berger had beaten her, resulting in frequent arrests.
He accused her of infidelity and a divorce was pending. Berger had
an alcohol problem that caused him to be especially pugilistic. They
had four children, the oldest of whom, Robert, was seven years old
at the time of the crime. Berger was convicted of arson in June,
1947, and while traveling to prison for that conviction he said that
upon his release, he planned to kill his wife. He was freed from his
prison term, which included three months in a psychiatric ward, on
January 26, 1948.588
Berger returned home and that night
strangled his wife. He was thirty at the time of the crime. At
trial, his son Robert served as the chief prosecution witness589
and vacationed with the trial
judge immediately after the trial.590
The child’s competency to
testify was challenged on appeal.591
This challenge failed, although
three justices dissented because the evidence of guilt, while
strong, was circumstantial and not sufficient to sustain a death
Berger was executed after two
psychiatrists concluded he was sane.593
“I do not wish to have any part
in the execution of an insane man,” said Governor Thornton.594
September 7, 1956. H-H. Eagle (Eagle County). Asphyxiation. Martinez
was convicted of murder after walking into a tavern and shooting its
owner, Perfecto Cruz. Within a few hours, Martinez was arrested and
had offered a full confession. Twenty-two months before the murder,
Cruz had thrown Martinez out of the bar for causing a disturbance,
and Martinez attacked Cruz with a knife, resulting in a six-month
jail sentence for assault.595
He was tried by an all-male
jury and convicted, and the conviction was affirmed on appeal.596
After meeting with Martinez’s
wife and five of his eight children, Governor Edwin C. Johnson
denied clemency. Forty-four years old at the time of his death,
Martinez, a miner, was the first to be executed in a newly built gas
January 11, 1957. Denver. W-W. Asphyxiation. Graham was convicted of
murdering his mother, Daisie E. King. Graham blew up a United
Airlines DC-6 airplane on which she was a passenger by packing
twenty-five sticks of dynamite in her suitcase. The blast also
killed forty-three additional passengers and crewmembers. The bomb
exploded eighteen minutes after the plane, en-route to Portland,
Oregon, departed from Denver’s Stapleton Airport.598
The plane departed fifteen
minutes late, but if it had departed on time, the explosion would
have occurred as the plane ascended over the Rocky Mountains, making
the identification of the cause of the crash much more difficult.
Graham, age twenty-four at the time of execution, primarily worked
in construction and drove trucks, had completed one year of college,
and had prior convictions for bootlegging, carrying a concealed
weapon, and check forgery. Some alleged his motive was to receive
$37,500 from a trip insurance policy purchased at the direction of
his mother, but the bulk of the evidence pointed to a troubled
relationship with his mother, who lived with Graham, his wife, and
their two children.599
Agents quickly determined that a bomb
had brought down the plane, and two weeks after the crash, they
interviewed Graham because of questions raised after they inspected
the remnants of his mother’s luggage. At that time he gave a full
confession. Graham withdrew his insanity plea after six
psychiatrists found him to be sane. After his conviction, Graham
attempted to prevent his case from being appealed, but the Colorado
Supreme Court nonetheless reviewed and affirmed it.600
Before his death, Graham
invited Zeke Scher, a Denver Post reporter who had covered
his trial, to sit on his lap while the execution was taking place.601
This invitation was declined.
During the execution, Graham gasped, screamed, and strained at the
straps, prompting the warden to comment that “this was not a normal
procedure,” but that it had happened before in other executions.602
January 22, 1960. Denver. WW. Asphyxiation. Leick was convicted of
murdering his wife, Evelyn, by beating and strangling her to death.
Evelyn’s sister was also beaten, and initial reports of the crime
also indicated that the suspected culprits, thugs attempting a
robbery, had beaten Leick as well.603
A day after the murder,
however, a man came forward to say that two years earlier, Leick had
tried to hire him to commit the murder. He had reported this to the
police at the time, but no action was taken.604
Two others said that Leick had
independently approached them for the same mission.605
Two days after the murder, both
Leick and a man he had hired to stage the robbery, Gene Dukes,
confessed to the plot, stating that the motive was to win life
At trial, Leick claimed an insanity
defense. The Colorado Supreme Court reversed his first conviction,607
but the conviction resulting
from the second trial was affirmed.608
Efforts to challenge his mental
competency for execution also failed.609
Shortly before the execution,
Leick unsuccessfully tried to absolve Dukes, who had been sentenced
to life imprisonment, from responsibility for the murder.610
Leick, a thirty-six-year-old
business executive for a Denver appliance firm, had a prior
conviction for stealing an eight hundred-dollar diamond ring.611
His execution ended six years
of legal battles, almost all of
which concerned his mental status.612
August 11, 1961. Littleton (Arapahoe County). W-W. Asphyxiation.
Early was convicted of the murder of Regina Knight and accused of
(but not tried for) murdering her husband, Merrill, and the couple’s
fifteenyear- old daughter, Karen. Merrill Knight was a prominent
Denver attorney who had befriended him. The murders occurred four
days after Early, who had also served prison terms in New Mexico and
Colorado, was released from a federal penitentiary.613
According to one report, he had
informed a psychologist at the penitentiary that he intended to
commit a murder as soon as he could after his release.614
He broke into the Knight home,
and finding no one at home, waited for the family to return. In the
home he found a gun and a rifle. One by one over a six-hour period,
as the family returned, he bound them in different rooms in the
house. He then shot them all, except for their son, who managed to
escape and was not harmed. Neighbors quickly apprehended him, and he
At trial he pled not guilty by
reason of insanity and supported this assertion with the testimony
of two psychologists and four psychiatrists, who concluded he was
paranoid schizophrenic. Five psychiatrists testifying for the state,
however, found him to be sane. The jury rejected the insanity
defense, and the conviction was affirmed on appeal.616
As he entered the gas chamber,
Early, thirty-two, apologized for his crimes.617
March 9, 1962. Golden (Jefferson County). W-W. Asphyxiation. Wooley,
thirty-nine at the time of his death, was executed for the murder of
a wealthy Denver “socialite,” William Scott Wright. Mary Pearl
Walker, Wooley’s common-law wife, who stood beside Wooley when he
shot Wright and helped bury the body, was also convicted and
sentenced to life imprisonment.618
Wright was a friend of the
duo’s, and had invited the couple for a brief vacation in his
mountain cabin. There, Wright was killed by a single bullet wound to
his head as he slept. For three months thereafter, the couple cashed
checks made out to Wooley and pretended that their friend had gone
on vacation. On September 15, Wright’s body was discovered and two
days later both Wooley and Walker confessed that they had plotted
Wooley, who worked for his father in
an upholstery shop, had no prior convictions. His claim of insanity
failed, and the conviction was affirmed on appeal.620
Walker claimed shortly before
the execution that she had fired the fatal shot, but the authorities
did not find her statement to be credible. Shortly before the
execution, Wooley was permitted to visit with Walker, and he gave
her most of his possessions, including a parakeet that he had been
allowed to keep in jail.621
Two months before his death,
Wooley denied his previous confessions and pleaded that he was
innocent, and he continued to maintain his innocence throughout the
remainder of his life.622
(a.k.a. Hammill). May 25, 1962.
Denver. W-W. Asphyxiation. Age thirty-one at the time of his death,
the former circus animal trainer was convicted of murdering
eleven-year-old Lester G. Brown, Jr., as part of a sex-related
crime. Hammil was arrested the day after the crime and immediately
confessed, explaining that he had invited the young boy to return to
the circus one night, promising him a free ride on an elephant.
Hammil choked him to prevent him from alerting adults when the boy
refused his sexual advances. Hammil was arrested the next day. He
confessed, led police to the body, and acknowledged that he
would probably have to die for
Hammil had a long record of prior
convictions and delinquencies, dating back to when he was nine years
Physicians “described Hammil as
mentally retarded but legally sane.”625
August 14, 1964. Pueblo. W-W. Asphyxiation. Bizup was executed for
the robbery-murder of a cab driver, Roy Don Bussey.626
Bizup, age thirty, had been
hitchhiking through Colorado at the time of the crime. He had been
in reform schools and jails since age twelve.627
Bizup confessed to the murder
and claimed an insanity defense. One psychiatrist supported that
claim, while three opposed it. The conviction was affirmed on
and his petition for a writ of habeas
corpus was denied.629
Shortly before his death, a
psychiatrist concluded that Bizup was sane, and Governor John Love
refused to commute the sentence.630
During the execution, cries of
“killers” and “murderers” yelled by other prisoners and directed at
the prison staff were heard in the death chamber.631
June 2, 1967. Denver. H-H. Asphyxiation. Monge was sentenced to
death for the murder of his pregnant wife, Leonarda. Monge also
killed three of the couple’s ten children: Alan, age six, Vincent,
age four, and Teresa, eleven months. Monge was a native of Puerto
Rico who grew up in New York. Immediately after the four murders,
Monge called police and admitted his guilt. A salesman, Monge had no
prior felony convictions, although in 1961 he abandoned his family
for two months and served a short jail sentence in Louisiana for
The alleged motive for the murders was
“to prevent exposure of sex crimes committed by defendant with his
Monge beat his wife to death with a
steel bar as she slept, stabbed Teresa, choked Vincent, and
bludgeoned Alan with the steel bar.634
After pleading not guilty by
reason of insanity, psychiatrists evaluated Monge and found him to
be sane. He then insisted on pleading guilty to firstdegree murder.
A jury that was convened for the penalty phase of the trial
recommended death, and the conviction and sentence were affirmed on
appeal. In January 1966, Governor Love suspended all executions in
Colorado pending a referendum on capital punishment by voters, but
on November 8, 1966, the voters decided to retain the death penalty
by a three-to-one margin. In March 1967, Monge attracted national
attention when he asked a Denver court to allow him to be hanged at
high noon on the front steps of the Denver City and County Building.
This request was denied.635
The following month, Monge
fired his attorneys and directed that no attempts should be made to
save his life; nonetheless, his surviving children appealed for
clemency. Doctors again evaluated Monge’s mental status and found
him mentally competent for execution.636
A week before his death, Monge
shared a final meal with his surviving seven children.637
On the eve of the execution,
some seventy members of the Colorado Council to Abolish Capital
Punishment gathered on the steps of the state capitol building in
Denver to protest the execution. Monge was forty-eight at the time
of his death.638
As he wished, one of his corneas was
transplanted to a teenaged reformatory inmate upon his death.639
He was the last person executed
in the United States before all capital statutes were effectively
voided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972.640
338. After the
inmate’s name, date of execution, and location of conviction,
information on the race of defendant, followed by race of victim, is
presented. Prisoners whose heritage is at least half
African-American are coded as Black, and European immigrants to
America are coded as White. One Syrian defendant and one defendant
who was half Mexican and half Navajo Indian are classified as
“other.” The race information is followed by the method of execution
(hanging or asphyxiation), and, for hanging, the cause of death if
known (broken neck or strangulation).
339. WAYNE GARD,
FRONTIER JUSTICE 206 (1949). See also JEROME C.
HISTORY OF DENVER 339 (1901).
340. SMILEY, supra
note 339, at 339; Curtis, supra note 1, at 66, 70–71;
Leonard, Avenging Mary Rose, supra note 11, at 16–18;
Williams, supra note 13, at 294–95; Murder and Execution,
supra note 2, at 3.
341. SMILEY, supra
note 339, at 342.
Burg, supra note 14, at 514; Williams, supra note 13,
343. SMILEY, supra
note 339, at 342; Williams, supra note 13, at 296;
Execution of Marcus Gredler, THE WESTERN MOUNTAINEER, June 28,
1860, at 8.
344. SMILEY, supra
note 339, at 343.
345. GARD, supra
note 339, at 206; ALICE POLK HILL, TALES OF THE COLORADO
PIONEERS 57–61 (1884); William MacLeod Raine, The Gordon Case, in
DENVER MURDERS 13 (Lee Casey ed., 1946); Leonard, Avenging
Mary Rose, supra note 11, at 24–25; Williams, supra
note 13, at 298–300.
346. GARD, supra
note 339, at 207; SMILEY, supra note 339, at 348;
Williams, supra note 13, at 300–02; Murder of Thomas
Freeman, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 6, 1860, at 2; The Waters
Trial, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 19, 1860, at 2; Trial of
Patrick Waters for the Murder of Thomas R. Freeman Before a Court of
the People, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 20, 1860, at 2; The
Execution of Waters, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 21, 1860, at 2.
347. The Van Horn
Case, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 2, 1863, at 2; William S. Van
Horn, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 23, 1863, at 1.
348. Stephen J.
Leonard, Judge Lynch in
3 COLO. HERITAGE 3 (Autumn 2000); FRANK HALL, HISTORY OF THE STATE
OF COLORADO, VOL. II, at 150–54 (1890).
349. Robbing and
Murder!, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 6, 1866, at 1; Justice
Appeased, supra note 31, at 1; The Execution,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, May 25, 1866, at 4 [hereinafter The
Sentenced, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Apr. 28, 1866, at 4.
351. HALL, supra
note 348, at 154.
352. The Penalty
Paid: Miears, the Murderer of Bonacina, Hanged, ROCKY MOUNTAIN
NEWS, Jan. 25, 1873, at 4 [hereinafter The Penalty Paid].
353. Execution of
Franklin Foster and Henry Stone for the Murder of Isaac H. Augustus
and Sluman, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, May 24, 1866, at 1.
354. The Execution,
supra note 349, at 4.
355. ROCKY MOUNTAIN
NEWS, Feb. 19, 1868, at 4; ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Feb. 20, 1868, at 4.
356. ROCKY MOUNTAIN
NEWS, Feb. 19, 1870, at 4.
357. The Scaffold:
Execution of George Smith, Two Thousand People Present, COLO.
TRIB., Feb. 24, 1870, at 2.
358. People v. Myers,
1 Colo. 508 (1872).
359. HALL, supra
note 348, at 147–50.
360. N. HARRISON, A
REVIEW OF THE TRIAL OF THEODORE MYERS, FOR THE MURDER OF GEORGE M.
BONACINA (1873) (on file in Archives, Norlin Library, University of
361. The Penalty
Paid, supra note 352 at 4.
362. KING, supra
note 51, at 163 n.3; The Gallows, PUEBLO CHIEFTAN
(Colo.), Feb. 3, 1877, at 1; The Execution, supra note
349, at 2.
363. Nunez Hanged
for the Murder of Luis Rascone, PUEBLO CHIEFTAN (Colo.), Mar.
15, 1879, at 4.
364. Sentenced to
Hang, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Apr. 30, 1880, at 5.
365. Shot by His
Friend, FAIRPLAY FLUME (Colo.), Jan. 29, 1880, at 4.
366. Doomed: Sims,
the Alma Murderer, to Hang To-Morrow, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, July
22, 1880, at 4; The Gallows: Cicero C. Simms, the Alma Murderer,
Suffers the Penalty of His Dastardly Crime, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS,
July 24, 1880, at 1.
367. Editorial, The
Plea of the State, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, July 25, 1880, at 4.
368. The Fatal
Trap: How It Opened to Engulf
FAIRPLAY FLUME (Colo.), July 29, 1880, at 1.
369. Beginning the
Trial of Canty, the Alleged Murderer of Tom Perkins, COLO.
SPRINGS DAILY GAZETTE, Apr. 19, 1881, at 4; Continuation of the
Trial of Canty•The Case Under Argument, COLO. SPRINGS DAILY
GAZETTE, Apr. 20, 1881, at 4; The Jury Finds Canty Guilty of
Premeditated Murder, COLO. SPRINGS DAILY GAZETTE, Apr. 21, 1881,
at 4; Life for a Life, Law Vindicated and Life More Secure, W.H.
Salisbury, Alias W.H. Canty, Expiates His Crime, COLO. SPRINGS
DAILY GAZETTE, June 18, 1881, at 1.
370. SHERRILL WARFORD,
VERDICT: GUILTY AS CHARGED, LEADVILLE JUSTICE, 1879–1886, at 16–29
372. Paid in Full,
GUNNISON DAILY NEWS DEMOCRAT (Colo.), Dec. 17, 1881, at 1; Sent
Heavenward, PUEBLO CHIEFTAN (Colo.), Dec. 18, 1881, at 1.
VANDENBUSCHE, THE GUNNISON COUNTRY 181–82 (1980) (containing a
picture of Coleman on the execution scaffold).
DURANGO DAILY HERALD (Colo.), May 25, 1882, at 1; Home
Stretch: Woods Does Not Weaken as He Approaches the Same,
DURANGO DAILY HERALD (Colo.), June 20, 1882, at 4; Woods Willing,
DURANGO DAILY HERALD (Colo.), June 22, 1882, at 4; Wild Woods,
Fails to Shuffle Off the Sheriff’s Coil, He Died the Death Due His
Dark Deed at Durango, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, June 24, 1882, at 1;
SMITH, supra note 85, at 51 (containing picture of the
Convicted, PUEBLO CHIEFTAN (Colo.), Nov. 27, 1884, at 4.
Passed, PUEBLO CHIEFTAN (Colo.), Dec. 2, 1884, at 5; Gone
Glimmering: the Soul of Miguel Garcia Takes Its Flight to a Higher
Court for a Hearing, PUEBLO CHIEFTAN (Colo.), Dec. 21, 1884, at
4; Garcia’s Adios, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 21, 1884, at 8.
378. Hibbard Hanged,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Apr. 25, 1885, at 1.
379. Four Fiends:
The Clements Murder at Saguache a Deed of Atrocity Unparalled in
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 2, 1885, at 8.
380. That Fatal
Drop, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 4, 1885, at 1.
381. Patrea Jensen,
Colorado’s 86 Legal
Executions, in COLO.
SHERIFF AND PEACE OFFICER 14, 14–15 (Oct.–Nov. 1966).
Toils: Network of the
Baldwin Murder•A Poor Chance for Gillespie,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 19, 1884, at 2.
383. Minich v. People,
9 P. 4, 14 (Colo. 1885).
384. DON L. GRISWOLD &
JEAN HARVEY GRISWOLD, HISTORY OF LEADVILLE AND LAKE COUNTY,
COLORADO, VOLUME 2, at 1776 (1996); WARFORD, supra note 370,
at 38; Minich: His Terrible Crime and Awful Punishment, A Full
History of the Murder, Arrest, and Trial, LEADVILLE HERALD
DEMOCRAT, Feb. 6, 1886, at 1.
385. WARFORD, supra
note 370, at 38.
386. See KING,
supra note 51.
Satisfied at Last, SALIDA MAIL (Colo.), Aug. 24, 1888, at 2.
388. Femenella Is
Hanged, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Aug. 24, 1888, at 1; see also
Hanged!, BUENA VISTA DEMOCRAT (Colo.), Aug. 23, 1888, at 3.
389. KING, supra
note 51, at 117.
Hanged, supra note 70, at 1.
391. KING, supra
note 51, at 158 n.13; see also supra text accompanying
392. See Judicially
Hanged, supra note 70.
Assassins, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, June 5, 1890, at 1; Three
Mexicans Arrested, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, June 6, 1890, at 1;
Hung For Murder, supra note 77, at 1.
PUEBLO CHIEFTAN (Colo.), Jan. 18, 1891, at 1.
396. Without a
Tremor, supra note 79, at 1.
397. Hanged in
Prison, supra note 83, at 1; The End of His Rope: W.H.
Davis, the Pueblo Murderer, Hung at Cañon City, PUEBLO CHIEFTAN
(Colo.), Sept. 23, 1891, at 1.
398. Met Death
Bravely: Charles Smith, the Walsenburg Murderer, Hanged at the State
Penitentiary Last Night, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 15, 1891, at
Lawton Is Executed,
DENVER REPUBLICAN, May 7, 1892, at 1.
400. Crying Like a
Baby: A Man Who Shot Down a Fellow Creature Begs for Mercy,
PUEBLO CHIEFTAN (Colo.), May 7, 1892, at 1.
401. Jordan v. People,
36 P. 218, 220–21 (Colo. 1894).
402. The Condemned,
supra note 86, at 1.
404. Taylor v. People,
42 P. 652, 653–54 (Colo. 1895); Shot the Marshal, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 20, 1895, at 4; Marshal Emerson Dead,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 22, 1895, at 2; Abe Taylor Executed,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 14, 1895, at 1; The Suicide Machine:
Abe Taylor Tried the Automatic Gallows, Death Sudden and Sure,
PUEBLO CHIEFTAN (Colo.), Dec. 14, 1895, at 1.
405. Ratcliff v.
People, 43 P. 553, 554–55 (Colo. 1896); Ratcliff Must Hang,
DENVER POST, Jan. 15, 1896, at 2; Would See Him Die, DENVER
POST, Feb. 7, 1896, at 2.
406. Radcliff Was
Executed Last Night, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Feb. 8, 1896, at 1;
His Life a Forfeit, DENVER POST, Feb. 8, 1896, at 2.
407. Noble’s Record,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 2, 1895, at 8.
408. Holt v. People,
45 P. 374 (Colo. 1896); Noble v. People, 45 P. 376 (Colo. 1896).
409. Shot a Police
Officer, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Nov. 21, 1895, at 1; Officer
Solomon Dead, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Nov. 22, 1895, at 6;
Confessed the Murder, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Nov. 30, 1895, at 6;
Three Men Executed at
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, June 27, 1896, at 1.
410. Story of One
of Most Horrible Crimes in History of
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Mar. 7, 1905, at 3.
411. Azel Galbraith
Is Hanged for His Crime, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Mar. 7, 1905, at
412. His Last Hope
Gone, Azel D. Galbraith Must Hang Tonight, DENVER POST, Mar. 6,
1905, at 1.
413. Azel Galbraith
Is Hanged for His Crime, supra note 411, at 3.
414. Robbers Kill
Mother and Wound Her Son, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 1, 1904, §
2, at 1; Boys Confess to Wanton Murder of Aged Woman, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 2, 1904, at 1; Boy Murderers to Hang Today,
DENVER POST, June 16, 1905, at 1; Arnold’s Brutal Nature
Displayed in Last Hours, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, June 16, 1905, at
1; Mother’s Love Grows in Face of Inevitable, ROCKY MOUNTAIN
NEWS, June 16, 1905, at 1; Quiet and Successful Execution Occurs
Inside Walls of State Penitentiary, DENVER REPUBLICAN, June 17,
1905, at 1; Andrews and Arnold Pay the Penalty of Their Crime,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, June 17, 1905, at 1.
415. Andrews v.
People, 79 P. 1031, 1035 (Colo. 1905); Capital Punishment Law Is
Upheld by Supreme Court, DENVER POST, Feb. 6, 1905, at 1.
416. Shot from
Behind: John H. Fox Is
Killed by a Deputy Sheriff Who Escapes the Mob,
DENVER POST, Apr. 9, 1905, at 1.
Joseph Johnson Will Be
Hanged Tonight for the Murder of John H. Fox,
DENVER POST, Sept. 13, 1905, at 6.
418. M’Garvey Pays
Death Penalty, DENVER REPUBLICAN, Jan. 13, 1907, at 1.
Jerked to Eternity, DENVER POST, Jan. 13, 1907, at 1;
Pays Death Penalty,
supra note 418, at 1.
420. Alia Will Be
Hanged Tonight, DENVER POST, July 15, 1908, at 1; Slayer of
Priest, with Curses on His Tongue, Died of Strangulation,
TRINIDAD DAILY NEWS (Colo.), July 16, 1908, at 1.
421. PUEBLO CHIEFTAN
(Colo.), May 14, 1908, at 1.
Discover Motive Which Actuated Negro in Murder of Young White Girl,
PUEBLO CHIEFTAN (Colo.), May 15, 1908, at 1; Negro Murderer
PUEBLO CHIEFTAN (Colo.), May 18, 1908, at 1.
Lynn Is Hanged As He Protests His
Innocence, ROCKY MOUNTAIN
NEWS, Oct. 9, 1908, at 1.
425. Women Catch
Bandit; Man Shot in Cafe, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Feb. 12, 1911, at
1; Bandit’s Victim Dies; Slayer in His Cell Merely Smiles,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Feb. 13, 1911, at 2.
426. Lewis Wechter
to Pay Death Penalty in State Prison at 9 o’clock Tonight for Murder
of W. Clifford Burrowes, DENVER POST, Aug. 30, 1912, at 1.
427. Noose Urged
for Wechter by Jury, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Mar. 23, 1911, at 1.
428. Wechter v.
People, 124 P. 183, 187 (Colo. 1912). Wechter argued that there was
no direct proof of his intent to commit robbery, therefore making
him ineligible for the death penalty.
429. Wechter to
Live Until Week’s End, General Opinion, DENVER POST, Aug.
26, 1912, at 3.
431. Wechter Hangs
After Torture from Suspense, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Sept. 1, 1912,
432. 1 Man Slain,
Another Shot, Bandit Suspect Captured in Pistol Duel with Police,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 24, 1913, at 1; Bandit Pair Hold
Denver in Grip of Fear,
Bullets Fly As Victim Fights Back,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 25, 1891, at 1; Lone Bandit Loots
Grocer, Flees in Rain of Lead; One New Suspect in Dragnet, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 26, 1913, at 1.
433. Terror of
Denver Caught, Confesses
Nine Holdups, Woman Flees with Loot,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 27, 1913, at 1.
434. Shot Chase
Dead When He Snarled, supra note 133, at 1.
435. I’d Kill
Bandit, Cries Mrs. Chase, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 28, 1913, at
436. Hillen v. People,
149 P. 250, 253 (Colo. 1915). Hillen had objected to the exclusion
of potential jurors who opposed the death penalty, to the admission
of evidence that he had committed several other similar robberies,
and to the prosecutor’s statement to the jury that if Hillen were
sentenced to life imprisonment, he would be released from prison in
only a few years.
437. W. L. Morrissey,
Hillen Goes To Death Asserting Innocence and Forgiving Enemies,
June 25, 1915, at 1; Hillen Dies on Gallows Maintaining His
Innocence To End, June 25, 1915, at 1.
Quinn Dies on Gallows, Calm to End,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 29, 1916, at 1.
439. Quinn v. People,
152 P. 148, 149 (Colo. 1915).
Quinn Dies on Gallows, Calm to End,
supra note 438, at 1; Tell Them I Died Game, Says
Quinn, as He Goes to Death
Upon Gallows, DENVER POST,
Jan. 29, 1916, at 1; Quinn
Goes to Trap for Herbertson’s Death,
DENVER POST, Jan. 29, 1916, at 1.
441. Policeman and
Barkeeper Fatally Shot by Assassins, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Mar.
10, 1912, at 1; Arthur M’Lenan, Policeman M’Pherson [sic]
and Saloon Owner Die of Wounds; Boy Bandit’s Confession Clears
Double Murder Mystery, DENVER POST, Mar. 11, 1912, at 1. 442.
Death Penalty for Oscar Cook, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 25,
1914, at 1.
443. Cook v. People,
138 P. 756, 760 (Colo. 1914).
444. Cook v. People,
153 P. 214, 217 (Colo. 1915).
445. Cook, in Last
Second of Life, Protests Innocence, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Feb.
27, 1916, at 1; Oscar Cook Pays Penalty of Murder Just Before
Dawn Creeps Into Prison, DENVER POST, Feb. 26, 1916, at 1.
446. Bosko v. People,
188 P. 743, 743 (Colo. 1920); see also Bosco (sic) Hanged
at Cañon City, Aged
Mother Is Near Death, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 11, 1920, at 1 [hereinafter Bosco (sic)
Hanged at Cañon City].
447. Bosko, 188
P. at 744.
448. George Bosko
Pays Penalty for Crime, PUEBLO CHIEFTAN (Colo.), Dec. 11, 1920,
at 1; Bosco (sic) Hanged at
Cañon City, supra
note 446, at 1.
449. Borich Hanged
at Cañon City for Double
Oak Creek Killing, DENVER
POST, Aug. 19, 1922, at 1; Wife Slayer Hanged in State Prison;
Was Routt County Miner,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Aug. 20, 1922, at 8.
450. Slayer of
Student to Plead Insanity, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 13, 1922,
at 11; Slayer of Student and Girl Convicted; Penalty Is Death,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 14, 1922, at 14; Convicted Slayer
Sentenced to Hang, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Nov. 19, 1922, at 14.
451. M’Gonnigal Is
Hanged at Dawn Saturday at Penitentiary for Double Murder,
DENVER POST, Apr. 26, 1924, at 1 [hereinafter M’Gonnigal Is
Hanged at Dawn Saturday].
452. McGonigal v.
People, 220 P. 1003, 1006 (Colo. 1923).
453. Girl Slain by
Jealous Admirer After He Kills Mines Student, DENVER POST, June
2, 1922, at 1; M’Gonnigal Is Hanged at Dawn Saturday,
supra note 451, at 1; M’Gonnigal Dies on Gallows as Last
Pardon Hope Fails, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Apr. 26, 1924, at 1.
454. Shank v. People,
247 P. 559, 563 (Colo. 1926).
455. Shank’s Body
Sent Here After He Pays Supreme Penalty, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS,
Sept. 19, 1926, at 1. 456. Lynching Near As Monte
Vista Woman Is Slain,
DENVER POST, June 20, 1926, at 1.
457. Murderer of
Woman Pays Death Penalty on
Cañon City Gallows,
DENVER POST, Nov. 12, 1926, at 1.
459. Youth Admits
Hanging Grand Lake
Hermit, ROCKY MOUNTAIN
NEWS, Aug. 17, 1926, at 1; Second Confession Is Made by Osborne
[sic] in Selak Slaying, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Aug. 20,
1926, at 1.
460. Osborn v. People,
262 P.2d 892, 906 (Colo. 1927).
461. Executive Is
Unnerved by Trying Ordeal, DENVER POST, Mar. 30, 1928, at 2.
462. Noakes, Osborn
Hanged, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Mar. 30, 1928, at 1; Face Noose
Calmly, DENVER POST, Mar. 30, 1928, at 1.
463. Eddie Ives
Ends 40 Years of Crime in Three States on Gallows at
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 11, 1930, at 3. Ives “had spent all but
eight of his 46 years doing time in one prison or another, including
the penitentiaries of Colorado, Utah and Oregon.” Melrose, supra
note 148, at 8.
464. This officer was
Robert Evans. When admitted to the hospital, a nurse named Farice
King was assigned to care for him. King recognized Evans as a person
with whom she had had an affair a dozen years previously. She
purchased a pistol, and, five days after he was admitted to the
hospital, she shot and killed him as he slept and then attempted to
take her own life. She was eventually sentenced to life
imprisonment, but pardoned by Governor Ed Johnson in 1934. See
Melrose, supra note 148, at 8.
465. Ives v. People,
278 P. 792, 798 (Colo. 1929).
466. Warden to Make
Final Plea for Life of Ives, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 9, 1930,
at 1; Last Hope of Eddie Ives Escaping Noose Vanishes, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 10, 1930, at 1.
467. Wallis M. Reef,
Eddie Ives Is Hanged at
Cañon City Prison: Killer Goes to
Gallows with Prayer on Lips,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 11, 1930, at 1.
468. Melrose, supra
note 148, at 8.
469. Belongia Goes
to Death Gladly in Gas Chamber, DENVER POST, June 22, 1935, at
1; Cook, supra note 148, at 6.
470. Shoots Down
Wife on Street, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Feb. 14, 1929, at 1;
Denver Man Shoots His Wife in Spine
After a Row in Auto, DENVER
POST, Feb. 14, 1929, at 14.
Unyielding Love Spelled Death at Hand of Her Husband, DENVER
POST, Feb. 15, 1929, at 3.
472. Weiss Will
Hang Wednesday Night, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, May 28, 1930, at 1;
Harold Weiss Is Hanged for Slaying Wife, DENVER POST, May 29,
1930, at 1; Weiss Is Hanged with Prayer on His Lips, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, May 29, 1930, at 1.
473. Weiss v. People,
285 P. 162 (Colo. 1930).
474. See, e.g.,
Wade Mountfortt, Jr., Lamar Bandits Still at Large, DENVER
POST, May 24, 1928, at 1.
475. Fleagle v.
People, 289 P. 1078, 1079 (Colo. 1930); see also Lamar Demands
Death for Ralph Despite Promise, DENVER POST, Oct. 17, 1929, at
3; Court Rules Lamar Gang Must Die; Declares Fleagle Not Victim
of Broken Promise Made by State, DENVER POST, June 9, 1930, at
476. Royston v.
People, 289 P. 1077 (Colo. 1930); Abshier v. People, 289 P. 1081
477. O’Brien, supra
note 280, at 1.
478. Fred S. Warren,
Lamar Bandits Are Avenged! Abshier and Royston Hanged at
Canyon City Pen.,
DENVER POST, July 19, 1930, at 1.
Kansas Gets Flood of Letters Favoring
Capital Punishment, DENVER
POST, Feb. 1, 1931, at 16.
Denver Woman Shot to Death in Her
Bedroom, DENVER POST, June
30, 1929, at 4.
Closes Around Mexican Murder Suspect, DENVER POST, July 1, 1929,
at 6; Emelio Herrera, Wife Slayer, Says He ‘Wants to Die,’
DENVER POST, July 2, 1929, at 3.
482. Herrera v.
People, 287 P. 643, 643–44 (Colo. 1930).
483. Wife Slayer to
Hang Tonight, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Aug. 20, 1930, at 1.
484. Herrera Is
Hanged for Murder of Wife, DENVER POST, Aug. 21, 1930, at 1.
Herrera, 21-Year-Old Wife Murderer, Is Hanged, ROCKY MOUNTAIN
NEWS, Aug. 21, 1930, at 1; Herrera Is Hanged for Murder of Wife,
supra note 472, at 1.
486. Recluse Slayer
Goes on Trial, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Mar. 5, 1930, at 2;
Slayer’s Wife Testifies to Save Him from the Noose, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Mar. 6, 1930, at 1; Denver Recluse Slayer to Die
on Gallows for Crime, DENVER POST, Mar. 8, 1930, at 1.
487. Moya v. People,
293 P. 335 (Colo. 1930).
488. Moya Walks
Firmly to Gallows, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 13, 1930, at 1.
489. Walker v. People,
295 P. 787 (Colo. 1931).
490. A 1991 movie
entitled “Let Him Have It” (Vermillion Pictures 1991) got its name
from the words spoken by Derek Bentley to an accomplice shortly
before a police officer was murdered in England. After Bentley
spoke, the sixteen-year-old accomplice fired the fatal shot. Whether
Bentley meant “let the officer have your gun,” or “let the officer
have a bullet” has been hotly debated. Bentley’s trial jury asked
for mercy, but he was nonetheless executed in 1953. Bentley was
nineteen when he was executed and had an I.Q. of sixty-six. In 1993,
Bentley received a limited pardon from the British government.
William E. Schmidt, Youth Hanged in Error in ‘53,
N.Y. TIMES, Aug. 1, 1993, at 10.
491. O’Brien, supra
note 146, at 1; State Ready to Execute 3 Bank Bandits Tonight,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 30, 1931, at 1; Hanged Bandit Is Buried
in Prison Plot, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Feb. 1, 1931, at 4.
492. O’Brien, supra
note 146, at 1.
Kansas Gets Flood of Letters Favoring
supra note 479, at 16.
Are Made to Hang Greeley
Torch Slayer Tonight,
DENVER POST, Dec. 9, 1931, at 1;
Adams Takes No Action in Foster Case,
DENVER POST, Dec. 10, 1931, at 13;
Adams Says Torch Slayer Must Hang,
DENVER POST, Dec. 11, 1931, at 1;
Greeley Torch Slayer Dies on Prison
Gallows, DENVER POST, Dec.
12, 1931, at 1; Foster Is Executed for ‘Torch Killings,’
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 12, 1931, at 1.
495. Farmer v. People,
7 P.2d 947 (Colo. 1932).
496. Farmer Breaks
Down As Hour of Death Nears, DENVER POST, Mar. 18, 1932, at 1;
Farmer Dies on Gallows at
Cañon City Pen.,
DENVER POST, Mar. 19, 1932, at 1.
497. Maestas v.
People, 11 P.2d 227 (Colo. 1932); Appellant’s Opening Brief at
12–13, Maestas v. People, 11 P. 2d 227 (Colo. 1932) (No. 13019).
Opening Brief at 12, Maestas v. People, 11 P. 2d 227 (Colo. 1932)
(13019); Joe Maestas Dies on
Prison Gallows, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, May 27, 1932, at 1;
Fort Garland Killer Hangs at Cañon
City, DENVER POST, May 28,
1932, at 6.
499. Moss v. People,
18 P.2d 316, 317 (Colo. 1932); Pitkin Woman Believed Slain,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Mar. 12, 1932, at 2.
500. Negro Slayer
Hanged at Pen., ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Mar. 11, 1933, at 7;
Slayer Dies on Gallows at
DENVER POST, Mar. 11, 1933, at 11.
501. The forty-five
hangings took place over a span of forty-three years at the state
penitentiary in Cañon City.
Jones Is Brave as Hour of His
DENVER POST, Dec. 2, 1933, at 2.
503. Jones v. People,
26 P.2d 103 (Colo. 1933).
Colorado Will Hang Hobo Slayer Friday,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Nov. 26, 1933, at 5.
505. Wallis M. Reef,
Last Victim of Gallows Strangled at
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 2, 1933, at 1.
Killer Strangles in Fourteen Minutes, supra note 144,
507. Walden E. Sweet,
Young Wife’s Plea for Mercy Fails to Save Kelley from Death
Chamber, DENVER POST, June 19, 1934, at 1.
508. His conviction
was not appealed because, unlike Frady, he did not have the two
hundred dollars needed to prepare a trial transcript. When informed
of the case on a visit to Colorado, the two hundred dollars was
nearly donated by Lorena A. Hickok, a close friend of First Lady
Eleanor Roosevelt’s who served as the chief investigator for Harry
L. Hopkins, administrator of the Federal Relief Administration. A
Colorado relief worker, however, warned Hickok that intervention by
her might embarrass the President. Writing to Mrs. Roosevelt, Hickok
explained her feelings: The thing has nearly driven me crazy. How
can you have any faith or hope in us if we do things like that
in this supposedly enlightened age? . . . I feel as though we were
living in the Dark Ages, and I loathe myself for not having
more courage and trying to stop it, no matter what the consequences
were. You would have done it. Well – I guess I’d
better not think about it any more . . . .” ONE THIRD OF A NATION:
LORENA HICKOK REPORTS ON THE GREAT DEPRESSION 285– 86 (Richard
Lowitt & Maurine Beasley eds., 1981). Mrs. Roosevelt tried to
comfort her friend, replying, “You mustn’t agonize so over things .
. . your giving the $200 would have been useless.”
at xiv; see also STEPHEN J. LEONARD, TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS: A
COLORADO PORTRAIT OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION WITH FSA PHOTOGRAPHS 215
509. Charles T.
O’Brien, Last-Minute Fight on to Save Kelley, DENVER POST,
June 22, 1934, at 1.
510. O’Brien, supra
note 165, at 1.
511. Autopsy Will
Be Performed Upon Kelley, DENVER POST, June 24, 1934, at 5.
512. Frady v. People,
40 P.2d 606, 613 (Colo. 1934).
513. Con Who Won
Wealth Behind Bars Freed, DENVER POST, Apr. 4, 1949, at 3.
Murder Colorado Farmer
and Schoolboy and Wound Woman; Fiends Shoot Three Then Pour Kerosene
on Them and Light It,
DENVER POST, Feb. 28, 1934, at 1.
Suddenly Rests Case in Trial of Pacheco Brothers, DENVER POST,
Mar. 30, 1934, at 25.
516. Pacheco et al. v.
People, 43 P.2d 165 (Colo. 1935).
517. Wallis M. Reef,
Two Brothers Die for Brutal Murder, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, June
1, 1935, at 1.
518. Rancher Slain
and Wife Shot Near
Greeley, ROCKY MOUNTAIN
NEWS, Dec. 17, 1934, at 1; Ex-Convict Murders
Colorado Rancher and Wounds His Wife,
DENVER POST, Dec. 17, 1934, at 14.
519. Ex-Convict on
Trial at Greeley for
Killing Planned to Escape,
DENVER POST, Mar. 6, 1935, at 11; Ex-Convict Gets Death Penalty
for Killing Colorado Rancher, DENVER POST, Mar. 7, 1935, at 19.
Offers Brain to Science, DENVER POST, June 20, 1935, at 1;
College Rejects Murderer’s Brain, DENVER POST, June 21, 1935, at
521. Belongia Goes
to Death Gladly in Gas Chamber, supra note 469, at 1.
522. Slayer Leaves
Letter of Advice to Parents, Explaining Causes of His Life of Crime,
DENVER POST, June 22, 1935, at 1.
523. Morris Cleavenger,
Sheriff Slayers Caught, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Aug. 7, 1935, at
1; Posses Encircle Slayers of Sheriff in
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, July 16, 1935, at 1.
524. Jack Carberry,
M’Daniels Shows Remorse and Fear on Execution Day, DENVER POST,
Feb. 14, 1936, at 1; Otis McDaniels Walks Smiling to Gas Chamber
to Die as Double Slayer, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Feb. 15, 1936, at
525. Arridy v. People,
82 P.2d 757 (Colo. 1938); People ex rel. Best v. Eldred, 86
P.2d 248 (Colo. 1938).
526. Several months
after the execution, Aguilar’s three-year-old daughter died when the
family’s Pueblo home burned. Later, Aguilar’s other two children
were placed in an orphanage when authorities claimed that they have
been abandoned by Aguilar’s widow. Eventually the children were
returned to Aguilar’s mother. However, the children were constantly
ridiculed by other children. In December 1938, with funds provided
by the county welfare department, Mrs. Aguilar (age seventy-seven)
and her two grandchildren left the state and went to live with
relatives in Mexico. Aguilars to Start Life Anew in
PUEBLO CHIEFTAN (Colo.), Dec. 4, 1938, at 1.
Witness Dies at Execution, supra note 176, at 1.
528. On the day of his
execution, Arridy gave the train to a fellow death row inmate,
Angelo Agnes (case no. 79). A picture of this presentation is
available in the Cañon City Public Library, available at
http://ccpl.lib.co.us (last accessed Apr. 17, 2003).-
529. See PERSKE,
supra note 177. In 1993, Colorado banned the death penalty
for the mentally retarded. Act of Apr. 29, 1993, ch. 155, 1993 Colo.
Sess. Laws 543 (codified at Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 16-9-401 to -403,
16-11-103. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court did the same, finding
that such executions violated the Eighth Amendment’s protections
against cruel and unusual punishment. See generally Atkins v.
Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002).
530. One newspaper
lists him as a native of Greece. Two Murderers Will Die Together
In Gas Chamber, DENVER POST, Sept. 29, 1939, at 1. However, his
prison records state that he was born in Italy. See Colorado
Department of Personnel and Administration, State Penitentiary
Records at the Colorado State Archives, at http://www.archives.state.co.us/pen/history.htm
(last accessed Apr. 15, 2003)
531. Salida Man
Held in Fatal Shooting, DENVER POST, Mar. 16, 1938, at 10.
532. Catalina v.
People, 93 P.2d 897 (Colo. 1939).
533. Two Murderers
Will Die Together In Gas Chamber, DENVER POST, Sept. 29, 1939,
at 1; Agnes and Catalina Executed Together, supra note
168, at 1.
534. Death Chamber
at Pen Tested, supra note 149, at 1.
535. Negro Woman
Dies from Wounds, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Nov. 21, 1937, at 5;
Negro Surrenders As Wife-Slayer, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Nov. 23,
1937, at 16.
536. Agnes v. People,
93 P.2d 891 (Colo. 1939); Two Murderers Will Die Together In Gas
Chamber, supra note 533, at 1; Agnes and Catalina
Executed Together, supra note 168, at 1.
Bandits Shoot It Out with Officers, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 5,
1938, at 1.
538. Leopold v.
People, 95 P.2d 811 (Colo. 1939).
539. W.T. Little,
Humor Not to Be Denied Even at Grim Execution Hill, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Nov. 18, 1951, at 34.
Leopold Goes to His Death in Gas Chamber, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS,
Dec. 9, 1939, at 1.
City Detective Shot to Death as He Tries to Save Woman,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 14, 1938, at 1.
Hunt Seeks Police Killer, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 15, 1938, at
Slayer Is Captured, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 19, 1938, at
545. Death Penalty
Demanded for Coates, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 20, 1938, at 1.
546. Coates Must
Die As Slayer of Detective, DENVER POST, Dec. 4, 1938, at 1.
547. Coates v. People,
106 P. 2d 354 (Colo. 1940).
Denver Killer Goes to Death,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 11, 1941, at 1.
549. Coates Begs
for Prayer in Death Chair, supra note 171 , at 1.
550. Stephens v.
People, 111 P.2d 1057 (Colo. 1941).
551. Mancos Jim Is
Ready for Death Friday, DENVER POST, June 19, 1941, at 1;
Colorado Killer Jerks from Chair,
Dies Calmly ‘Like Indian Victim,’
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, June 21, 1941, at
552. ‘I Warned
Him,’ Says Janitor; Gives Self Up, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 10,
1939, at 1.
553. Sukle v. People,
111 P.2d 233 (Colo. 1941).
554. Sukle v. People,
125 P.2d 151 (Colo. 1942).
555. Sukle Almost
Runs to Gas Chamber, DENVER POST, May 23, 1942, at 2;
Murderer Sukle Pays His Penalty, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, May 23,
1942, at 2.
556. Murderer of
Pueblo Girl by Torture
Confessed, DENVER POST,
Apr. 27, 1942, at 1.
557. Sex Slayer
Dies in Gas Chamber, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 24, 1942, at 5;
Pueblo’s Torture Murderer
Dies in Gas Chamber, DENVER
POST, Oct. 24, 1942, at 5.
558. Woman Found
Raped, Slain, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 12, 1942, at 1.
559. Handyman Is
Held in Slaying, supra note 179, at 5; Sex Murder
Confessed by Handy Man, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 13, 1942, at
560. Sullivan v.
People, 139 P.2d 876, 877 (Colo. 1943).
561. Slayer Dies in
Colorado Gas Chamber,
DENVER POST, Sept. 20, 1943, at 2; Manitou Springs Killer
Executed, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Sept. 21, 1943, at 31.
562. “A-A” signifies
Asian defendant and victim. Honda was an American citizen, born in
Honolulu. He and his family lived in Japan from the time he was
three months old until he was sixteen. His wife was of Japanese
decent; born and raised in Colorado.
563. Japanese Cuts
Wife to Death in Hotel Lobby, DENVER POST, May 4, 1942, at 8.
564. Honda v. People,
141 P.2d 178 (Colo. 1943).
(sic) Goes to Death Chamber Wishing
Allies Well, DENVER POST, Oct. 9, 1943, at 4; Honda Dies
Calmly in Lethal Cell, Hopes Allied Armies Will Win War, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Oct. 9, 1943, at 5.
Denver Woman Found Dead in Cellar
Grave, DENVER POST, May 21,
1943, at 1; Fred Pettid, Find Body of
Denver Wife in Cellar Grave,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, May 21, 1943,
at 1; Potts Tells Police He Stamped (sic) Wife to Death in
Mad Frenzy, DENVER POST, May 22, 1943, at 1.
567. Potts v. People,
158 P.2d 739 (Colo. 1945).
568. Potts Pays
with Life for Killing Wife, DENVER POST, June 23, 1945, at 1;
see also Potts Prepares to Die Friday Evening, DENVER POST, June
22, 1945, at 1.
569. Girl, 4, Mom
Die in Agony, Dad Quizzed, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan. 23, 1944,
at 5; Father Admits Poisoning Two, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan.
24, 1944, at 1.
570. Supreme Court
Refuses to Stay Silliman Execution Slated Tonight, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Nov. 9, 1945, at 5; Silliman Calmly Waits Death
Call, DENVER POST, Nov. 9, 1945, at 1.
Silliman Dies in Gas Chamber, DENVER POST, Nov. 10, 1945, at 1;
Silliman Meets Death by Gas for Poisoning Wife, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Nov. 10, 1945, at 5.
Girl Found Murdered, Soldier Arrested, DENVER POST, Dec. 7,
1943, at 1; Soldier Faces Murder Trial in Girl’s Death,
DENVER POST, Dec. 8, 1943, at 1; Sergeant Confesses Beating Girl
Found Dead in Englewood,
DENVER POST, Dec. 9, 1943, at 1.
573. Martz v. People,
162 P.2d 408 (Colo. 1945).
574. Martz May Be
Given Stay of Execution, DENVER POST, Nov. 23, 1945, at 1.
575. Martz Loses
His Appeal and Goes to Gas Death, DENVER POST, Nov. 24, 1945, at
576. Brown was
described as having “mixed Negro and Indian blood.” Death Near
for Slayer, DENVER POST, May 22, 1947, at 32.
Suitor’s Gunshot Wound Fatal to Woman, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, May
13, 1945, at 31; Denver Woman Dies in Shooting Affray, DENVER
POST, May 13, 1945, at 3.
578. Brown v. People,
178 P.2d 948 (Colo. 1947).
579. Hugh Jennings,
Murderer Executed at Prison, DENVER POST, May 24, 1947, at 16;
Denver Slayer of Woman
Calmly Accepts Gas Death,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, May 24, 1947, at 5.
Slayer Visits with Mother, DENVER POST, June 20, 1947, at 30.
581. Ranch Hand
Sought in Foreman’s Death, DENVER POST, Dec. 28, 1946, at 14;
FBI Joins Search for Man
Wanted in Slaying, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 29, 1946, at 14; Gillette Dies in Gas Chamber,
DENVER POST, June 21, 1947, at 16.
582. Battalino v.
People, 199 P.2d 897 (Colo. 1948).
583. Bernard Beckwith,
‘I’ll Join My Friends
in Hell:’ Battalino, DENVER
POST, Jan. 7, 1949, at 1; see also Battalino Surly on Eve of
Execution; Warden Adds Deputy to Guard, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS,
Jan. 7 1949, at 10; Friendless Battalino Faces Gas, DENVER
POST, Jan. 7, 1949, at 36.
Marranzino, Battalino Dies Smiling, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan.
8, 1949, at 1.
585. Schneider v.
People, 199 P.2d 873, 880 (Colo. 1948).
586. Schneider v.
Colorado, 338 U.S. 862 (1949).
587. Robert M. Cour,
Triple Killer Schneider Executed, DENVER POST, Dec. 17, 1949,
at 1; Sam Lusky, Schneider Dies in Gas Chamber, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 17, 1949, at 1.
588. Attorney Lost
3-Year Fight to Save Berger, DENVER POST, Oct. 27, 1951, at 2.
589. Berger Guilty
in Wife’s Murder, DENVER POST, July 1, 1948, at 1.
590. Berger Boy,
Judge to Go on Vacation, DENVER POST, July 1, 1948, at 19;
Bobby Berger Gets $20 to Spend ‘As You Like,’ DENVER POST, July
2, 1948, at 2.
591. Berger v.
People, 224 P.2d 228, 232 (Colo. 1950).
at 247 (Holland, Hilliard and Moore JJ.,
593. Fred Baker,
Berger Executed, Silent, Sullen to Last, DENVER POST, Oct. 27,
1951, at 1; Fred Baker, ‘I Am Signing Nothing’—Killer Defiant to
End, DENVER POST, Oct. 27, 1951, at 2.
594. Thor Severson,
Berger Sane; Dies Tonight; DENVER POST, Oct. 26, 1951, at 1.
Man Slain in Eagle Feud,
DENVER POST, Nov. 29, 1954, at 40.
596. Martinez v.
People, 299 P. 2d 510 (Colo. 1956).
597. Fred Baker,
Father of Eight Executed in State Gas Chamber, DENVER POST,
Sept. 9. 1956, at 1; These Are Events Leading to Execution of
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Sept. 8, 1956, at 27; Three on Death Row
Ignored by Martinez,
DENVER POST, Sept. 9, 1956, at 3; Tom Gavin,
Martinez Dies in Gas Chamber,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Sept. 8, 1956, at 5.
598. Al Nakkula, 44
Killed in Airliner Explosion, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Nov. 2, 1955,
at 5; 44 Die in Plane Crash, DENVER POST, Nov. 2, 1955, at 1.
599. For a more
thorough description of Graham’s life history and mental status, see
JOHN M. MACDONALD, THE MURDERER AND HIS VICTIM 201–16 (1961); and
James A.V. Galvin & John M. MacDonald, Psychiatric Study of a
Mass Murderer, 115 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 1057 (1959).
600. Graham v. People,
302 P.2d 737 (Colo. 1956).
supra note 599, at 348.
602. Zeke Scher,
Graham Dies for Plane Bomb Murder, DENVER POST, June 12, 1957,
Denver Woman Kidnapped and Murdered!,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 2, 1953, at 1.
604. Police Were
Told of Plot, Mrs. Leick Wasn’t, Why Not?, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS,
Dec. 6, 1953, at 5.
605. Ken Wayman & Jack
Gaskie, Was Slain
Denver Woman Victim of Fiendish Plot?,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 3, 1953, at 1.
606. Ken Pearce,
Wife Killer Confesses!, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 4, 1953, at 1;
Sam Lusky, Gay Cafe Dinner Prelude to Death, ROCKY MOUNTAIN
NEWS, Dec. 5, 1953, at 1.
607. Leick v. People,
281 P.2d 806, 813 (Colo. 1955).
608. Leick v. People,
322 P.2d 674, 688 (Colo. 1958), cert. denied, 357 U.S. 922
609. Leick v. People,
345 P.2d 1054, 1057 (Colo. 1959).
610. Al Nakkula,
Leick Absolves Dukes As Slay Accomplice, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS,
Jan. 22, 1960, at 5.
611. Bill Brenneman,
Theft of $800 Diamond Ring Blots Leick’s Record, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Dec. 3, 1953, at 5.
612. Al Nakkula,
Leick Is Executed!, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Jan 23, 1960, at 1;
Zeke Scher, Wife-Slayer Leick Dies Calmly in State Gas Chamber,
DENVER POST, Jan. 23, 1960, at 1.
Killer’s Record Started at 15, DENVER POST, Apr. 26, 1958, at 3.
supra note 599, at 249.
Confesses Slaying Attorney, Wife and Daughter, DENVER POST, Apr.
26, 1958, at 1.
616. Early v. People,
352 P.2d 112, 120 (Colo. 1960); cert. denied, 364 U.S. 847
617. Fred Baker,
David F. Early Executed in Gas Chamber, DENVER POST, Aug. 12,
1961, at 24; William Hazlett, Murderer of Three in Littleton Home
Gassed to Death, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Aug. 12, 1961, at 5.
618. Mrs. Walker
Faces Death Chair, DENVER POST, Sept. 18, 1959, at 3; Stood
Beside Wooley at Killing, Helped Burial, Woman Admits, DENVER
POST, Sept. 18, 1959, at 3.
Confesses Killing Heir, DENVER POST, Sept. 17, 1959, at 1;
$15,000 Cache ‘Missing” in Heir Slay Case, DENVER POST, Sept.
18, 1959, at 1.
620. Wooley v. People,
367 P.2d 903, 909 (Colo. 1962).
621. Dick Woodbury,
Wooley Executed in Prison, DENVER POST, Mar. 10, 1962, at 1.
622. William Hazlett,
Wooley Is Executed at
Cañon City Prison,
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Mar. 10, 1962, at 1.
Parents Muted with Grief, DENVER POST, Aug. 29, 1958, at 48;
Denver Boy, 11, Disappears;
Police Quiz Circus Worker,
DENVER POST, Aug. 28, 1958, at 1; ‘I’ll Have to Die,’ Slayer Says,
DENVER POST, Aug. 30, 1958, at 1; Roustabout Admits Killing,
DENVER POST, Aug. 29, 1958, at 1.
(sic) Has Long Record, DENVER POST, Aug. 30, 1958, at 3.
625. Dick Woodbury,
Hammill (sic) Due to Die Tonight, DENVER POST, May 25,
1962, at 2. See also Hammil v. People, 361 P.2d 117 (Colo.
1961); Dick Woodbury, Hammill (sic) Pays Full Penalty,
DENVER POST, May 26, 1962, at 2.
626. Cab Man Killed
by Bullet, DENVER POST, Mar. 26, 1960, at 24.
627. Killer Clings
to Hope Until the Last, DENVER POST, Aug. 15, 1964, at 3.
628. Bizup v. People,
371 P.2d 786, 790 (Colo. 1962).
629. Bizup v. Tinsley,
393 P.2d 556 (Colo. 1964).
630. Doomed Slayer
Wills Eyes, but Clings to Clemency Hope, DENVER POST, Aug. 13,
1964, at 2; Killer’s Fate Still Uncertain as End Looms, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, Aug. 14, 1964, at 5; Rendall Ayers, Gov. Love
Denies Clemency to Bizup, DENVER POST, Aug. 14, 1964, at 3.
631. John Kokish,
Bizup Dies in Gas Chamber, DENVER POST, Aug. 15, 1964, at 3; W.T.
Little, Bizup Executed for
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Aug. 15, 1964, at 5; see also Killer Clings
to Hope Until the Last, supra note 627, at 3.
Disappearance Recalled; Described as Good Father, DENVER POST,
June 30, 1963, at 3A.
633. Monge v. People,
406 P.2d 674, 676 (Colo. 1965).
634. Bill Myers & Walt
Lindenmann, Father of Ten Kills His Wife, 3 of Children,
DENVER POST, June 29, 1963, at 1; Bill Myers & Walt Lindenmann,
Police Guard Slayer of Expectant Wife, Three Children, DENVER
POST, June 30, 1963, at 3A.
635. R. Roger Harkins,
Some Thoughts on Watching a Man Suffocated, BOULDER DAILY
CAMERA, (Colo.), June 4, 1967, at 1.
636. Cary Stiff,
Killer Monge Slated to Die Friday, Wills Eyes to Boy, DENVER
POST, June 1, 1967, at 3; Martin Moran, Monge Ruled Sane:
Execution Slated Friday ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, June 1, 1967, at
637. Loy Holman,
Monge Visits with Son On Eve of His Execution, ROCKY MOUNTAIN
NEWS, June 2, 1967, at 5.
638. Cary Stiff,
Monge Goes To His Death With Smile, DENVER POST , June 3, 1967,
at 24; Loy Holman, Monge Dies in Prison Gas Chamber, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, June 3, 1967, at 5. .
639. Silent Vigil
Protests ‘Shame’ of Execution, DENVER POST, June 3, 1967, at 2;
William Logan, Monge Eye Transplant Is Called Success, ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, June 4, 1967, at 5.
640. Furman v.
Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972); Gary Gerhardt, Last Man Executed
also Wanted to Die, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS,, Jan. 17, 1977, at 6;
see also supra note 6 and accompanying text.