1939: Howard Long, New Hampshire’s most recent hanging

As of today, it’s been 70 years since the U.S. state of New Hampshire carried out an execution, despite maintaining a death penalty statute almost continuously since.

“Craving for boys,” Long was condemned for molesting and beating to death a 10-year-old in 1937, evidently his second molestation/murder: in the first, he reportedly drove around for 10 hours with his prisoner before plucking up the heart to do the thing, the sort of mental picture to cast a child murder victim of a wannabe-serial killer in the unexpected aspect of boredom.

Long’s execution in the bicentennial of New Hampshire’s first legal hangings was itself the first in 21 years in the Granite State. Although a handful of cases since have potentially fit the steadily narrowing set of death penalty circumstances, none has actually come so far as the gallows (or, today, theoretically, lethal injection) before taking one of the many possible exits — plea bargain, sentence reduction, premature death — from the capital punishment system.

New Hampshire’s present-day death row consists of only one person, and earlier this year its legislature actually voted to abolish the death penalty, a measure spearheaded by State Rep. Renny Cushing, who is the son of a murder victim.* The measure was vetoed by Gov. John Lynch.

* Full disclosure: also a personal friend. Cushing founded Murder Victims Families for Human Rights (MVFHR).

On this day..

One thought on “1939: Howard Long, New Hampshire’s most recent hanging

Comments are closed.