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Copy link to share with friends. By Edmund Newton. Pope Francis declared last week that the death penalty is always wrong, challenging Catholics worldwide to put an end to state-sanctioned executions. My father, Donald W. My mother, on the other hand, though an ace for a competing newspaper, was made of more delicate stuff. She had covered her share of murder trials for the Chicago Timesbut she never fit the profile of the hard-boiled reporter. She was more comfortable writing touching human interest stories about, say, the famous Radium Girls, factory workers who destroyed their health by painting the hands of mass-produced watches with radioactive coloring.
Mary Alfredine Doty, my mom, was never one to revel in the competing brutalities of ruthless criminals and a vengeful criminal justice system. One day inhowever, she was brusquely thrust into the middle of it for a story that hit the front s of newspapers across the country. What the town of Owensboro had … was the prospect of the first-ever female executioner, carrying out her lethal obligations on a public stage.
The conversation had drifted to lynchings, capital punishment and how Black people fared in the criminal justice system, and my mother got a far-seeing look, indicating she knew a thing or two about the subject. Yes, there had been a time when she had covered something like that. The public hanging of a Black man in Kentucky. It was a familiar story: A year-old White widow, raped and murdered in her own home by a year-old Black man. The local prosecutor had elected to try the man only for rape — not murder or robbery — because the penalty in Kentucky would then be public hanging.
For condemned man Rainey Bethea, there would be no escape in his final moments from public scrutiny in an enclosed death chamber. What made the story more than a local issue — another Black man meeting death at the end of a rope — was the deated executioner. In Daviess County, Kentucky, the local sheriff was supposed to attend to the nuts and bolts of execution. What the town of Owensboro had in Augustthen, was the prospect of the first-ever female executionercarrying out her lethal obligations on a public stage.
It was a titillating story, and the newspapers played it for all it was worth, my mother said. Source Photo courtesy of Edmund Newton. Little attention was devoted to the real protagonist of this drama, Bethea, a year-old farmhand. He had confessed, of course, but he soon recanted.
His team of lawyers — local courthouse regulars — advised the condemned man to plead guilty and beg for mercy. They subpoenaed four witnesses but never summoned any of them to the witness stand.
In fact, the defense was notable for its total absence from the proceedings, my mother said. The big story, it seems, was Thompson. What would she do? How would she react? Then came Mrs. The advertised gender breakthrough turned out to be a total dud. The lady sheriff sat in the car. After a long delay, the door snapped open, and the condemned man plummeted to his death. A shocked pause. Then a rush forward toward the dead man. Maybe Bethea — who declined to speak any last words to the snarling crowd — will never get justice.
But the contingent of Northern journalists reported fully on the ghoulish behavior of people in the crowd at the end of the proceedings.
City officials and defenders of Owensboro still insist that none of this happened. The crowd was no more disorderly than spectators at a baseball game, they said. For me, anyway, that was incontrovertible proof that it happened the way my mother said it did. The state of Kentucky, acknowledging the unseemly aspect of the hanging, soon called a stop to public executions the last state to do so. Newark Police Commander Ivonne Roman is launching a fitness and mentorship program to give female officers a boost.
My First Communion came from an abuser. While many famous baseball players are role models, this story is about one who followed a more perverse path. Celebrity reportage is not without perils — especially when the reporter and the interviewee hate each other. A swift change in fortunes altered the course of civil rights forever. After years of abuse in the American South, a year-old had run out of options.
With the print obit dying out and a host of digital options replacing it, who is going to pen your death notice? Maybe you. Long before Michael Brown, Sales was raising awareness about cases of African-Americans shot by police. Carl Jones can write a joke, produce a hilarious show and do weird voice-overs with ease, all while making you think harder about how hard you think. Millions of viewers are tuning in for a jolt of black badassery, female style. Facebook Twitter Love this? Hanging in Owensboro, Kentucky. Death marks time Rainey stands on the trapdoor Mary Alfredine Doty and the Chicago Times crew.
Edmund Newton. Source Edmund Newton. August 5, A Modern Media Company.Hung black guy for Owensboro Kentucky females
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20, Watched the Last Public Hanging 78 Years Ago