Thursday, August 6, 2020

Send me to the electric chair

This is NOT an electric chair

Dinah Washington ...Send me to the electric chair

Happy birthday, Gertie. 130 years old and still going strong !

On August 6, 1890 the State of New York executed William Kemmler in the nation’s first use of the electric chair, (also known as Old Sparky Yellow Mama, Gruesome Gertie, Sizzling Sally or Hot Seat...
Kemmler had been sentenced to death for killing his common law wife with a hatchet.  After officials strapped him into the chair, the electricity was applied for several seconds.  During that time, Kemmler strained against the leather straps.

When attending doctors thought Kemmler was dead, the warden had the electricity turned off. But Kemmler’s body continued to twitch, causing observers to faint.

After doctors confirmed Kemmler was still breathing, the executioner sent 2,000 volts through Kemmler’s body.  Kemmler’s mouth foamed and blood vessels ruptured.  Witnesses smelled burning flesh as Kemmler’s body caught fire.

After the electricity ceased, Kemmler’s body went limp.  Doctors confirmed that this time Kemmler was dead. Following the execution, about twenty newspapers in New York called for a repeal of the law that allowed execution by electrocution.
With the exception of the (rarely performed) firing squad execution, the electrocution will stay the most effective way to perform the death penalty, the one with the best success rate anyway. See "botched executions" stats below.

*Botched executions are “those involving unanticipated problems or delays that caused, at least arguably, unnecessary agony for the prisoner or that reflect gross incompetence of the executioner.”

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