Thursday, October 21, 2004

Good old times

The last public execution by guillotine was on June 17, 1939. Eugen Weidman was executed before a large crowd in Versailles, France. The last nonpublic use of the guillotine in France, at Baumetes Prison, in Marsailles, was the execution of convicted murderer Hamida Djandoubi, a Tunisian immigrant, on September 10, 1977. France abolished capital punishment on September 9, 1981.

The last execution in the Tower of London took place on Thursday, August 14, 1941, when Josef Jakobs, a German spy, was shot by an eight-man firing squad. Because he had suffered a broken ankle when he had parachuted into England on the night of January 31, 1941, he could not stand before the firing squad and he was, instead, seated in an old Windsor chair and tied up. Five of the eight shots pierced his heart.

Phoebe Harrius was convicted of coining false money, a crime of high treason at that time, and was executed by being burned at the stake in front of Newgate Prison in England, in 1786.