April 15th, 2013 Meaghan
(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.)
At noon on this day in 1921, Mailo Segura was hanged in Fairbanks, Alaska.
In 1918 he had murdered a miner, J.E. “George” Riley, near the gold rush town of Flat, in a dispute over money. His was the second execution in Fairbanks history.
George Riley was in charge of the mining operations along Orter Creek near Flat. Segura was a lumberjack and, together with some other men, had sold $300 worth of cordwood to Riley on credit.
In early 1918, Segura confronted Riley with the bill and demanded to be paid. By then, the bill had been outstanding for two years. Riley, however, refused to pay. He said he wasn’t going to hand over any money until Segura either brought his wood-chopping partners along with him to collect the sum in person, or brought a statement from his partners authorizing Segura to take the full amount.
As witnesses at his trial later testified, Segura was furious with Riley and said he would kill him if Riley didn’t give him the $300. On March 2, he withdrew his life savings of $1,800 from his bank account and later that day went looking for the deadbeat.
Segura found his quarry at the mining claim and waited patiently, assisting with the mining work so he wouldn’t look suspicious.
When all the other miners had gone inside the boiler house, Segura shot Riley in the back without warning. The miners heard the shots — there were three, any one of which would have been fatal — and ran outside to find their employer lying stone dead on the ground and Segura running away.
It didn’t take much effort to catch him. Once he was surrounded, Segura raised his hands in surrender and shouted, “Me no kill no more.”
Seeing as how Mailo Segura had repeatedly threatened Riley’s life and then shot the unarmed man from behind, his claim of self-defense didn’t go very far at his trial. He was convicted of first-degree murder on July 18 and was supposed to be hanged on October 8, but Segura put his $1,800 life savings to use filing appeals, and thereby prolonged his life by three years.
When his time came, he was terrified and unable to walk to his death. The authorities had to strap him to a board to keep him upright while they fastened the noose around his neck.
A matter of minor interest: Mailo Segura hailed from halfway around the world in the tiny Balkan kingdom of Montenegro; he might be the only Montenegrin ever executed in North America. (Montenegrins were then and still are today a sizable minority in Alaska.) In spite of his European descent, in trial documents he was referred to as “black,” and possible racial prejudice on the part of the jury was an issue in his appeals.
On this day..
- 1851: James Jones and Levi Harwood, but not Hiram Smith - 2016
- 1715: Thomas Nairne, Charles Town Indian agent - 2015
- 1793: Philibert Francois Rouxel de Blanchelande, governor of Saint-Domingue - 2014
- 1905: Chief Zacharias Kukuri - 2012
- 1982: Khalid Islambouli and the assassins of Anwar Sadat - 2011
- 1925: Fritz Haarmann, Hanover vampire - 2010
- 1881: The assassins of Tsar Alexander II - 2009
- 1947: Fernand de Brinon, Vichy minister with a Jewish wife - 2008
Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Alaska,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Guest Writers,Hanged,History,Murder,Other Voices,Pelf,Racial and Ethnic Minorities,USA