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  1. #1
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Nevada Capital Punishment History

    An Outline of Capital Punishment in Nevada

    There have been at least 74 legal executions in Nevada and 1 in Carson City, Utah Territory.
    Prior to the creation of Nevada Territory, John Carr was executed by hanging on the west side of Carson City, Carson County, on November 30, 1860 by order of the 2nd Judicial District of Utah Territory for the shooting murder of Bernhard Cherry in Carson City in late October.

    Between late 1861, when Nevada Territory was organized, and 1903, executions by hanging were conducted at the county seats in which the person was convicted.

    There has not been a definitive compilation of legal executions conducted in Nevada prior to 1903, however there are 20 known legal executions between 1861 and 1903:

    • 1863, January 9; Allen Milstead, Dayton
    • 1868, April 24; John Milleain (Millan, Millian, or Milliean), Virginia City
    • 1868, October 30; Rufus B. Anderson, Austin
    • 1870, December 16; Ah Fung, Unionville
    • 1870; December 16; Ah Ung, Unionville
    • 1873, October 17; David M. Hall, Belmont
    • 1874, April 24; John Stewart, Aurora
    • 1874, December 29; John Murphy, Carson City (at the foot of Lone Mountain)
    • 1877, January 19; Peter Larkin, Virginia City
    • 1877, October 30; Robert Crozier, Winnemucca
    • 1877, December 22; Sam Mills, Elko
    • 1878, February 19; J. W. Rover, Reno
    • 1880, April 6; Charles Wesley Hymer, Winnemucca
    • 1882, February 9; Charley Hing, Winnemucca
    • 1885, January 23; Indian Dave, Belmont
    • 1886, March 5; Clarence Gray, Winnemucca
    • 1886, December 31; Edward Crutchley, Hamilton
    • 1890, June 20; Elizabeth Potts, Elko
    • 1890, June 20; Josiah Potts, Elko
    • 1890, December 12; Hank Parish, Ely
      Aurora (1), Austin (1), Belmont (2), Carson City (1), Dayton (1), Elko (3),
      Ely (1), Hamilton (1), Reno (1), Unionville (2), Virginia City (2), Winnemucca (4)

    The earliest known legal execution in Nevada Territory occurred on January 9, 1863 when Allen Milstead was hanged outside Dayton for killing Lyon County Commissioner T. Varney at Ragtown (for judicial purposes, Churchill County was administered by Lyon County until 1864) on October 29, 1862. Some 700 people viewed the execution.

    On April 24, 1868, John Millian was hanged outside Virginia City for the strangulation murder of prostitute Julia Bulette. Mark Twain was among the estimated 4000 persons who witnessed the execution.

    On October 30, 1868, Rufus B. Anderson, age 20, hanged at Austin for the shooting murder of Noble T. Slocum. Anderson had to be dropped three times from the gallows before he died. Members of crowd tried to intervene after the first try, but was held back by militia guards.

    The first Chinese legally executed in Nevada, Ah Fung and Ah Ung, were hanged in Unionville on December 16, 1870 for killing a fellow countryman. An estimated 300 persons watched the execution.

    On December 18,1874, Governor Lewis Rice Bradley granted a reprieve to John Murphy in Carson City in order that his sanity be determined.

    In 1875, the state legislature prohibited public executions without invitations.

    The first African-American legally executed in Nevada, Sam Mills, was hanged in Elko on December 22, 1877 for the shooting murder of James Finnerty at Halleck on April 8, 1877.

    On February 19, 1878, J. W. Rover was hanged at Reno for the murder of business partner I. N. Sharp on April 8, 1875 at Sulphur Springs, Humboldt County. The Supreme Court, on appeal from Humboldt County District Court, ordered a retrial. Conviction in second trial. Another appeal, another order for retrial. Change of venue to Washoe County, again convicted of murder in the first degree in third trial. Board of Pardons refused to commute death sentence. Rover protested his innocence to the end.

    A story made the rounds in late July 1899 that Frank J. McWorthy--the other business partner, accuser, and sole witness in the trials--allegedly made a death bed confession in Arizona Territory in the late 1890s that he had killed Sharp, and Rover had been hanged for a crime he did not commit. The Reno Evening Gazette wrote that McWorthy was still alive and living in Oakland, noting that the News of Carson City was wrong in printing this story. The 1900 U.S. Census for California lists J. Franklin McWorthy, age 74, occupation "miner-gold," living in Eden, Alameda County, with his wife Helen. Other California census enumerations list New York-born F.J. McWorthy living in San Francisco (1860, 1870) and Oakland (1880). See the News (Carson City), July 22, 1899, 3:3; the Silver State (Winnemucca), July 22, 1899, 4:6; Reno Evening Gazette, July 24, 1899, 1-5; Humboldt Star (Winnemucca), Feb. 21, 1928, 1:4-6.

    The first Native American legally executed in Nevada, Indian Dave, a Shoshone, was hanged at Belmont on January 23, 1885, for the murder of a Chinese man near Keyser's Springs and Lockes Ranch in Railroad Valley.

    The first and only woman ever executed, Elizabeth Potts, was hanged with her husband, Josiah Potts, in Elko using double gallows on June 20, 1890, for the shooting murder and mutilation of Miles Faucett in Carlin.

    The 1901 state legislature required that all executions be conducted at the State Prison in Carson City beginning in 1903.

    The first execution by hanging at the State Prison, John Hancock, was on September 8, 1905.

    The largest multiple execution in the history of Nevada occurred on November 17, 1905 when four men, Thomas F. Gorman, Al Linderman, Fred Reidt, and John P. Sevener, were executed using double gallows for the murder of a transient they threw off a moving train while they pilfered the box cars.

    Two Native Americans, Indian Johnny, a Shoshone, and Joe Ibapah, a Goshute, were executed using double gallows on December 7, 1906 for the murder of a transient.

    The 1911 state legislature provided that a death row inmate could elect to die by shooting or hanging.

    The first and only execution by shooting occurred on May 14, 1913, Andriza Mircovich, a Montenegrin, for the stabbing murder of a fellow countryman in Tonopah.

    Ten men were hanged at the State Prison before the law was changed.

    The 1921 state legislature eliminated hanging and shooting as a method of execution, and provided for execution by lethal gas. Nevada was the first state in the US to use lethal gas as a method of execution.

    The first person in Nevada and the country to be executed by lethal gas was Gee Jon, a Chinese man, on February 8, 1924, for the shooting murder of a fellow countryman in a Tong war dispute in Mina.

    Thirty-two men were executed in Nevada's three gas chambers between 1924 and 1979.

    The oldest person ever executed at the State Prison was John Kramer, age 61, on August 28, 1942.

    The youngest person ever executed at the State Prison was Floyd Loveless, age 17, on September 29, 1944, for the shooting murder of a constable near Carlin when Loveless was 15.

    Governor Edward Peter Carville received an Attorney General’s opinion on September 21, 1944 stating that the “Governor has no authority to grant reprieve when sixty days from time of conviction has expired.”

    The only double execution using lethal gas occurred on July 15, 1954--Linden Leroy and Frank Pedrini at their request.

    The last involuntary execution prior to the U.S. Supreme Court declaring capital punishment unconstitutional in 1972 was Thayne Archibald, on August 21, 1961, for the execution-style murder of a kidnap victim following a robbery in northern California (Bill Raggio, Washoe Co. D.A., prosecuted the case).

    The 1967 state legislature passed a law exempting persons under the age of 16 who commit a capital crime from being executed.

    In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that existing capital punishment laws were unconstitutional.

    Four years later, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty.

    The 1977 state legislature adopted a new death penalty statute.

    Jesse Bishop was the last person to be executed in Nevada using lethal gas on October 22, 1979.

    The 1983 state legislature changed the method of execution to lethal injection.

    • December 6, 1985, Carroll Edward Cole became the first person executed by lethal injection in Nevada (see http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_k...rd_cole/1.html
    • June 19, 1989; William Thompson, second,
    • June 23, 1989; Sean Flanagan, third,
    • June 3, 1990; Thomas Baal, fourth,
    • March 31, 1996; Richard Moran, fifth (involuntary execution),
    • October 5, 1998; Richard Abeyta, sixth,
    • April 5, 1999; Alvaro Calambro, seventh,
    • April 21, 2001, Sebastian S. Bridges, eighth,
    • March 26, 2004, Lawrence Colwell, Jr., ninth,
    • August 12, 2004, Terry Dennis, tenth,
    • April 26, 2006, Daryl Linnie Mack, eleventh.

    Since 1905, 54 men have been executed at the State Prison in Carson City: 10 hanged, 1 shot, 32 by lethal gas, and 11 by lethal injection.

    In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court abolished the death penalty for persons deemed mentally retarded.

    In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court abolished the death penalty for persons younger than 18.
    NOTE: Guy Rocha presented a history of the Nevada State Prison and its relationship with Carson City in an Exploring Nevada presentation "The Capital and the Prison."


  2. #2
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Nevada State Prison Gas Chamber

    Nevada Gas Chamber

    Prior to January 1, 1912 the law prescribed hanging as the means of carrying out the death sentence in the State of Nevada, however, upon revision of the statutes in 1911 the condemned were allowed a choice between the gallows and the firing squad. This remained the law until March 28, 1921 when an amendment was adopted providing for execution by means of lethal gas. Nevada was the first state to sanction the use of the gas chamber.

    The first execution by use of lethal gas took place in February 1924 and has been used as the means of carrying out the death sentence a total of thirty-one times. The last execution was held October 22, 1979.


    1. Gee Jon, convicted of killing Tom Quong Kee, December 3, 1921. Executed, February 8, 1924. Age 28

    Stanko Jukich, convicted of killing of Jennie Medak, February 14, 1925. Executed, April 6, 1925. Age 29

    Robert H. White, convicted of killing of Louis Laval, October 27, 1928. Executed, June 2, 1930. Age 41

    Luis Ceja, convicted of killing Charlie Fong, July 12, 1930. Executed, September 4, 1931. Age 28

    John Hall, convicted of killing John O'Brien, June 15, 1931. Executed, November 28, 1932. Age 52

    Ray Elmer Miller, convicted of murdering his estranged wife, February 16, 1933. Executed, May 8, 1933. Age 56

    Joseph Behiter, convicted of killing Sylvia Reither, November 2, 1931. Executed, July 13, 1934. Age 34

    Luther Jones, convicted of killing four men after a hold-up on October 16, 1936. Executed, January 26, 1937. Age 33

    Domenico Nadal, convicted of killing Joe Urrutia, November 1, 1938. Executed, January 17, 1939. Age 47

    Burton Franklin Williamson, convicted of killing his wife, Mrs. Pauline Williamson September 12, 1939. Executed, November 21, 1939. Age 43

    Wilson Henry Boyd, convicted of killing Floyd Robinson and his wife, February 24, 1940. Executed, May 28, 1940.

    John A. Kramer, convicted of killing Frances Collins, March 25, 1940. Executed, August 28, 1942. Age 64.

    Floyd L. McKinney, convicted of killing Lieutenant and Mrs. Raymond Fisher, September 14, 1943. Executed, November 27, 1943. Age 34

    Raymond Plunkett, convicted of killing his son on December 10, 1942. Executed, June 30, 1944. Age 31

    Floyd Loveless, convicted of killing a policeman on November 30, 1943. Executed, September 29, 1944. Age 17

    Albert Everette Sala, convicted of an Elko County murder, November 10, 1945. Executed, August 23, 1946. Age 35

    Paul Maynard Skaug, convicted of killing Mrs. Marie Voss, December 12, 1944. Executed, January 10, 1947. Age 26

    David Blackwell, convicted of killing two Reno police officers, January 7, 1948. Executed, April 22, 1949. Age 18

    Laszlo Varga, convicted for the rape-slaying of Mrs. Rev. Morning, July 7, 1948. Executed, June 7, 1949. Age 24

    Eugene Leo Gambetta, convicted of killing his former wife, August 20, 1948. Executed, October 18, 1949. Age 46

    James Williams, convicted of killing a fellow worker, April 18, 1949. Executed, August 25, 1950. Age 32

    Theodore William Gregory, convicted of killing his estranged wife, December 14, 1948. Executed, January 29, 1951. Age 46

    Owen Caudle Butner, convicted of killing his former wife, April 27, 1948. Executed, February 10, 1951. Age 36

    Gregorio Arellano, convicted of killing a high school girl, December 2, 1949. Executed, July 24, 1951.

    25. D
    omingo Echaverria, convicted of killing nurse Elizabeth Catlett, November 10, 1951. Executed, April 13, 1953. Age 62.

    Clayton Octave Fouquette, convicted of killing Donald Brown, November 24, 1948. Executed, April 13, 1953. Age 41

    Ferdinand A. Bourdlais, convicted of killing Ward Budzien Sr., October 15, 1952. Executed, April 23, 1954. Age 27

    Frank A. Pedrini and Leroy L. Linden, convicted of killing Clarence Dodd, May 11, 1954. Executed, July 15, 1954. (Only double execution using lethal gas) Both age 35

    Earl Lewis Steward, convicted of killing Thomas Jessen. Executed, February 24, 1960. Age 42

    Thayne H. Archibald, convicted of killing Albert Waters. Executed, August 21, 1961. Age 22

    Jesse Walter Bishop, convicted of killing David Ballard. Executed, October 22, 1979. Age 46


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