1570: Hegumen Kornily of the Pskov-Pechery Monastery 1799: Heshen forced to commit suicide

1930: Eva Dugan, her head jerked clean off

February 21st, 2011 Headsman

On this date in 1930, Eva Dugan was badly hanged.

A former Alaskan cabaret performer, Dugan relocated to warmer climes, took a job keeping house for a reclusive, wealthy rancher.

After he axed her position, she axed the rancher, ransacked his home, stole his car, and fled to New York.

A mysterious teenage accessory, “Jack”, was never found. Eva was picked up and extradited after the missing rancher’s remains turned up in a shallow grave.

The grizzled former frontierswoman — she followed the Klondike gold rush in her youth — took her fate nonchalantly.

“Wal, I’ll die with my boots on, an’ in full health,” she scolded her jurors. “An’ that’s more’n most of you old coots’ll be able to boast on.”

Eva Dugan’s health may have been full — though she bid unsuccessfully for clemency claiming mental illness — but her body was halved.

At 5 a.m. this date, wearing a homemade silk shroud, a composed Dugan mounted the gallows at the state prison in Florence.

Her death was instantaneous, for the rope, when it snapped at the end of the drop, severed her head from her body.

Five witnesses, two women, fainted. Altogether there were five women in the chamber at the time of the execution. It was the first time in the history of Arizona that an execution was witnessed by women.

Thanks in part to this ghastly scene, Arizona in 1934 replaced the gallows with the western states’ hot new killing technology, the gas chamber … leaving Dugan the last female client of that state’s hangman.

(Another woman, Ruth Judd, narrowly missed swiping Dugan’s distinction; Judd’s hanging sentence was commuted for insanity just days short of her scheduled 1933 hanging.)

Also on this date

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Arizona,Botched Executions,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,History,Milestones,Murder,Pelf,USA,Women

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20 thoughts on “1930: Eva Dugan, her head jerked clean off”

  1. Silvia Laura says:

    In other words a kind of execution was substituted with a more painful one in order not to trouble the delicate sensibilities of people who were there to see someone die anyway.

  2. tashua dugan says:

    If you have anymore info. on Eva Dugan, please send it to dugan272@gmail.com This is my Husband’s Great-Great -Great Grandma

  3. Grimley says:

    When it comes to execution she got a head start……her head was a cut above the rest?…I’m here all week folks

  4. Ameriee says:

    I wouldn’t want to admit that this monster was related to me

  5. Meaghan says:

    Why not? It’s no reflection on that woman’s husband. We all have a few skeletons rattling in our family closets. And it’s an item of minor historical interest.

  6. DAVE says:


  7. Meaghan says:

    And you base that on….what?

  8. Susan says:

    Let’s hope that Jodi Arias is the NEXT prisoner on Death Row!

  9. Allan says:

    Waiting on the Jody Arias verdict — hmmmmm…I wonder if Eva’s jury was smarter than Jody’s? Time will tell!

  10. Rebecca says:

    I am also waiting on the Jodi Arias Verdict;
    Justice for Travis

  11. Luke says:

    They just compared this woman to Jodi Arias today on HLN while waiting for the Jodi Arias verdict. LOL

  12. Allan says:

    After thirteen plus hours still no verdict. Wait another day. I am not a proponent of capital punishment, even in monstrous cases like Jodi’s. I expect she’ll deservedly be convicted and when she is, I’ll be quite satisfied with the punishment of life in prison without any possibility of parole.

  13. rebekah says:

    you maybe satisfied….but no apology, no remorse….execute her!!!!

  14. Tashua Dugan says:

    For the jack ass saying i would not say i was related. You really need to grow up. That is part of family history. That does not define who we are. please leave you jackass comments to you self

  15. ed says:

    very well said Tashua, has no reflect on your family

  16. Jeff says:

    Eva’s story would make a great film. I do not understand the violent hatred of Jodi Arias. She is a nut that reacted violently after being strung along by a fellow narsasist. An 18 year old female relative was murdered by a middle aged religious fanatic and the killer got life w possible parole after the preacher spoke for him at sentencing. Far more heinous killers have not received the death penalty.

  17. kimbers5771 says:

    Why should anyone be against capital punishment? The problem with life imprisonment is that we, as taxpayers have to pay for these monsters and creeps for the rest of their lives. They do not deserve this kind of care. Theyve commited their crimes and why should we pay for their care and feeding etc?

  18. Kevin says:

    Ed, did you really just say that being related to Eva doesn’t reflect on her family? Really?

  19. Tashua Dugan says:

    So Kevin , what reflect do you think it has on my family?

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