1388: Nicholas Brembre, Mayor of London 1880: Ippolit Mlodetsky, Loris-Melikov’s would-be assassin

1951: Charlie Gifford, politician-killer

February 21st, 2010 Headsman

On this date in 1951, Charlie Gifford was electrocuted in Florida’s Raiford Prison for murder.

The murder victim was popular young Florida legislator/war hero Charles Schuh, whose promising political career ended abruptly on April 24, 1950, when the 71-year-old Gifford strode into his St. Petersburg offices and shot him dead over some head-scratching private grievance relating to Schuh’s legal practice. (Schuh represented Gifford’s ex-wife in a divorce proceeding.)

An insanity defense didn’t fly, though Gifford’s purchase on reality seems to have been … hit and miss. The septuagenarian perp didn’t seem to mind the death sentence.

The murdered legislator’s son, Charles E. Schuh, grew up into a political career of his own, eventually becoming mayor of St. Petersburg. Charles E. Schuh’s recent passing brought out this fascinating story by a former reporter who witnessed Gifford’s execution.

The electric chair was in the center, but the controls were behind a glass-enclosed area. I was repelled by the sight of “Old Sparky,” the electric chair. I was even more horrified to see that the executioner, a local electrician, wore a black hood reminiscent of the Inquisition. …

Today I am a decade older than Gifford was then, but to a 22-year-old reporter he seemed to be just a frail old man with a shaved head.

Also on this date

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Diminished Capacity,Electrocuted,Execution,Florida,History,Murder,Notable for their Victims,USA

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3 thoughts on “1951: Charlie Gifford, politician-killer”

  1. Lisa says:

    Hello, Kevin. I’m Lisa, 14, and I noticed this photograph of Charlie Gifford and can’t really tell what he looks like in the picture. I found a magazine from 1951 on Google News and found a clearer photograph of him (a mugshot taken a month before his electrocution; it shows that he had a beard and actually didn’t look very old), so if you would like for me to send you the photograph, just email me or leave a comment.

  2. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Hi Lisa–

    Say, I just wanted to let you know that I answer questions about Ted Bundy only. Sometimes I’ll post a comment when something shows up here at ET that I have an opinion about, but I’m not in a position to answer questions from the public, Anyway, If you have any questions or comments about Bundy, I’ll be more than happy to answer them or listen.

    Take care,

    Kevin

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