Doctor George Henry Lamson, the ‘Sleight of Hand Poisoner’; Not as clever as he thought.


All in all, a sorry fate for a man who'[d once shown such promise.

Watching the detectives: The arrest of the inappropriately named Daniel Good.


With Good safely in his grave, the Metropolitan Police had to reconsider having only uniformed officers in their ranks. Had some officers been working out of uniform, they reasoned, they might have caught him far sooner. With that in mind a permanent cadre of non-uniformed officers. the Detective Department, was set up in August, 1842. It later became the Criminal Investigation Department.

On This Day in 1949; Germaine Leloy-Godefroy, last French woman to face the guillotine.


She was the last woman in France to face the dreaded 'Timbers of Justice.'

On This Day in 1689; Judge Jeffreys, who gave them enough rope.


The original 'Hanging Judge' his name became a byword for bias, ruthlessness, callousness and cruelty, Jeffreys would die as a prisoner himself.

IDENTIFIED: ‘An unidentified man is strapped into Sing Sing’s electric chair.’


For my 100th post, I'm going to offer you something special, something a little different from the usual fare. The story of this 'unidentified man' at the moment of his death. True crime buffs and historians will have seen this particular image many, many times. Taken by photographer William van der Weyde, it's invariably captioned … Continue reading IDENTIFIED: ‘An unidentified man is strapped into Sing Sing’s electric chair.’

Executed executioners; the biters bit.


Executioners are seen as a strange breed. Usually tolerated, sometimes celebrated, frequently feared and often despised, the man (for it usually is) who drops the blade, swings the axe, pushes the lever or throws the switch remains a breed apart. With their particular profession in mind, you might think that, death being touted as a … Continue reading Executed executioners; the biters bit.

On this day in 1947; George Sitts, (appropriately named).


As regular readers know, I do like crime's more unusual case, the firsts, lasts and onlys. Minnesota's George Sitts is certainly one of those. Born in Leroy, Minnesota on October 29, 1913, he was a serial felon, escape artist and double cop-killer. He was the first, last and only inmate to sit in South Dakota's electric … Continue reading On this day in 1947; George Sitts, (appropriately named).

On This Day in 1959; Elmer Brunner, the last execution in West Virginia.


  West Virginia has never been known as a hard-line death penalty State, abolishing capital punishment in 1965. After 1899 there were 104 hangings and, with a change in method, nine electrocutions. Elmer Brunner's, on April 3, 1959 was the last. Brunner wasn't a notable murderer in himself. His crime, murdering homeowner  Ruby Miller, was … Continue reading On This Day in 1959; Elmer Brunner, the last execution in West Virginia.

George Kelly, falsely convicted and quickly hanged.


  For most crime buffs the name 'George Kelly' inspires memories of rattling Tommy guns, bank robberies and the kidnapping of Charles Urschel, all attributed to American crook George 'Machine Gun' Kelly. Kelly, a second-rate gangster at best, was made out to be far worse than he actually was, spending the remainder of his life … Continue reading George Kelly, falsely convicted and quickly hanged.

The Last Meal.


Study media reports of executions, recent or decades-old, and you’ll probably find mention of the prisoner’s last meal. Most prisoners spend their entire sentences eating whatever the prison kitchen provides and have no choice. Condemned inmates are traditionally allowed to choose their final meal. Before British reporters were barred from witnessing hangings in the early … Continue reading The Last Meal.