On This Day in 1951, the Lonely Hearts Killers pay the price.


8 March 1951 was an historic day at Sing Sing Prison. The death house had six pre-execution cells nicknamed the ‘Dance Hall.’ At 11:30am four were occupied by John King, Richard Powers, Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck. By 11:30pm those cells were empty. Their occupants were all dead in New York’s last quadruple execution.

King and Powers were just making up the numbers, bit-part players. Young, cocky wannabe gangsters, they were really small-timers at heart. Murdering an airport clerk during a robbery in 1950 was their entrance. The ‘little green door’ would be their exit. Their date merely coincided with that of Fernandez and Beck, still two of New York’s most notorious criminals; The Lonely Hearts Killers.

Together Beck and Fernandez wooed, deceived and fleeced a succession of lonely, wealthy, vulnerable women. At least three of these women they murdered. Their fourth known victim was a two-year old toddler, daughter…

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