Add comment January 23rd, 2012 Headsman
On this date in 1892, Patrick Boyle was hanged in Edwardsville, Illinois.
Boyle was a hobo who, whilst off a-tramping with a fellow-vagrant outside Nameoki, Ill., robbed said vagrant by shooting him in the back.
The victim was in good enough shape after this attack to comply with Boyle’s directive to turn out his pockets (yielding 95 cents) and cough up his bindle (yielding a couple of shirts) … and still doing well enough after transacting the business end of the stickup to hike back to Nameoki as Boyle made his getaway.
Sadly for him, the wound (however non-debilitating) was discovered to be mortal, and he passed away. But of course, he was around long enough to incriminate Boyle.
It didn’t take long for the law to catch up with Boyle, although he escaped once and made it 35 miles in handcuffs before recapture.
(A body can get around in manacles when he’s properly motivated.)
Once firmly in custody, legal matters advanced with the dispatch customary to the poor: according to the St. Louis Republic, the case was called in the morning; “a jury was selected by noon”; “The case was given to them at 6 o’clock, and at 10 they brought in a verdict.”)
Boyle was considered somewhat feebleminded and some clemency petitions led Gov. Joseph Fifer* to grant a dramatic last-second stay prior to Boyle’s planned hanging Jan. 16. But the stay was only good for one week, to give his supporters enough time to make a then-unusual appeal to the Supreme Court. It didn’t work.
* Fifer is a bit (in)famous for having just the previous year pardoned killer Thomas Neill Cream, who used this unexpected liberty after his first murder to strike out across the pond and become one of England’s more notorious serial killers. On the other hand, Fifer couldn’t find any mercy for the surviving Haymarket men.
Also on this date
- 1348: The Duke of Durazzo, all in the family
- 1985: Vladimir Vetrov, Farewell
- 1996: Richard Townes, Jr.
- 1685: Robert Pollack and Robert Millar, Covenanters
- 1903: Arthur Alfred Lynch condemned
- 1945: Nikolaus Gross, Catholic anti-Nazi labor activist