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.)
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.
On this day..
- 1719: Patrick Carraghar and Two Arthur Quinns - 2016
- 1815: Six militiamen, Andrew Jackson's electoral dirty laundry - 2015
- 1862: Nathaniel Gordon, slave trader - 2014
- 1946: Cristino Garcia, Spanish Republican and French Resistance hero - 2013
- 1934: Augusto Cesar Sandino, national hero - 2012
- 1930: Eva Dugan, her head jerked clean off - 2011
- 1942: Mykhailo and Olena Teliha, Ukrainian artists - 2009
- 1803: Edward Marcus Despard, a patriot without a nation - 2008