Archive for February 8th, 2010

1910: George Reynolds and John Williams

Add comment February 8th, 2010 Headsman

At 6:30 this morning a century ago, two black men were hanged in Kansas City, Mo., for raping a white violinist less than seven weeks before.

There was really only one way this case was going to end.

The assault was of such a nature that intense feeling was aroused. Threats of lynching frequently were heard …

Prisoners in the County Jail raised bedlam when the verdict became known. They had previously threatened to lynch the negroes in the exercise room of the jail.

That’s from the Los Angeles Times blog’s roundup of its A.P. coverage from the Show-Me state a century ago — which further reveals George Reynolds and John Williams enjoyed a five-minute jury deliberation, and this vituperative sentence from the judge:

“They don’t even deserve to be classed with the murderer who must pay the penalty for his crime with his life,” continued Judge Latshaw.* “It would be an insult to these men, who had at least a spark of manhood in their hardened souls, to have such brutes as these put in their class. I don’t care to desecrate the day by ordering these two brutes hanged on the legal hanging day.”

(The regular hanging day — Friday — was safely un-desecrated; Reynolds and Williams hanged on a Tuesday.)

Reynolds fainted at the gallows. “Cowardly Brute,” the LA Times headlined it, also mentioning that he’d been starving himself for a week in a desperate bid to cheat the hangman. He maintained his innocence at the last.

* Judge Latshaw presided over a number of high-profile Missouri trials … often acquittals.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Hanged,Missouri,Racial and Ethnic Minorities,Rape,Sex,USA

Tags: , , , , , ,




Execution Playing Cards

Exclusively available on this site: our one-of-a-kind custom playing card deck.

Every card features a historical execution from England, France, Germany, or Russia!

Recent Comments

  • Sharon: My great grand mother was born in 1869 and was called Mary Ellen Peace, her grandfather was born in 1817 and...
  • Sharo.n: In 1859 Charles married a widower Hannah Ward. Who had a son. Together they had a daughter called Jane
  • Donna Finnegan: Kathleen Jukes. My family are also related to Richard. We are trying to work out where in our...
  • Anthony: Delaware never used a lethal injection machine. While they had bought one in 1987 when they first ordered a...
  • Curt Kastens: You can add Walterr Süskind. According to the German Wikipedia he died in Auschwitz on Feb. 28 1945....