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1955: Gerald Albert Gallego, like father like son

March 3rd, 2010 Headsman

On this date in 1955, murderer Gerald Albert Gallego became the first client of Mississippi’s new gas chamber.*

It was a botched job, though that didn’t stop Mississippi from retaining the gas chamber into the 1990s.

Gallego coughed, choked, and wheezed on a less than lethal cloud of cyanide poisoning. Finally, after some forty-five minutes while officials feverishly worked to correct the problem, the repairs were completed and Gallego quickly died. An additional step was then added to the required testing of the chamber prior to an execution: an animal, usually a rabbit, would be placed in a cage in the chamber chair and cyanide gas was released to make sure the mixture was sufficiently lethal.

Gallego killed a cop, then engineered a prison break out of death row by giving a guard a faceful of acid and a fatal beating.

But if you think he was bad, get a load of his son.

The younger Gerald Gallego drew two gas chamber sentences of his own, in California and Nevada, for a far more diabolical crime spree (though he ultimately died in prison, not at the hands of an executioner).

The son’s story is the subject of The Sex Slave Murders: The Horrifying True Story of America’s First Husband-and-Wife Serial Killers, whose author gave an interview to indefatigable true-crime blogger Laura James here.

Despite the familial resemblance in lawbreaking, the father and son never met in this life.

According to The Sex Slave Murders, a prison conversion gave Gallego pere a care for his next life, and on his last walk this day to the gas chamber, he handed the Mississippi sheriff a note that read in part,

Sheriff, if at any time you should have young men in your jail, please tell them that I was once like them, and should they continue, there is no reward but hardships and grief for their parents.

* Mississippi’s gas chamber replaced the electric chair.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Botched Executions,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Gassed,Milestones,Mississippi,Murder,Notably Survived By,USA

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7 thoughts on “1955: Gerald Albert Gallego, like father like son”

  1. Anthony says:

    Gallego did not struggle for 45 minutes in the gas chamber. It was actually closer to 20 minutes. Such was the recollection of legendary Mississippi newspaper columnist Bill Minor, who was a witness at the Gallego execution. The 45 minutes claim was an anecdotal one from former Parchman warden Don Cabana in his book on the death penalty. Cabana was not a witness at the 1955 Gallego execution, Bill Minor was.

  2. Toni Farmer says:

    A black man named Walter Johnson was executed August19, 1955 for capitol rape. My aunt was his victim, who died in 2010 due to injuries from the rape. The injury I refer to may have lead Johnson to commit the crime. This may be a comfort to his family. Any information on this execution? The crime took place in Jackson, MS.

    1. Dominic Shelmerdine says:

      Dear Toni,

      Out of interest, do you think it was right that this young man was executed, or should he have been jailed for a number of years instead as he didn’t murder your aunt?

      Best wishes,


      1. John Harris says:

        I dont believe 45 minutes of this piece of worthless space, fighting for breath was enough punishment. Trash like this doesnt deserve the death he recieved. Best be glad it wasnt up to me nor the victims families. Because if it had been this trash would have suffered beyond anyones imagination. No good trash like this worthless speck of feces deserves one thing and its off to a good start. Himself and the rest of his god forsaken gene pool be wiped off of societys ass. Killed..

        1. Sherill Schouweiler says:

          Totally agree with you. 45 min of this POS wasnt nearly enough time. This man is unfortunately the uncle to my father. My grandmother went into protective custody with her children as the poluce were concerned he was coming for her after killing the police officer. This was never spiken about in out family until 2003 when my grandfather died. What him amd his son did to families is beyond sickening and truly heart breaking. I will forever be horrified to think that any of us even has the same blood as these 2 lunatics. The deepest sympathy to all the victims and there familes.

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