Famous executions are carried out at night

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 24th Jun 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Death>Grief

Why are executions carried out at night? It appears to be because of the issuing of a death warrant, rules, and regulations. Stanley Tookie Williams is a famous execution carried out at night

Stanley Toukie Williams

An examiner subscriber asked why were executions carried out and night and not at 8:00 in the morning? She wanted to know why put the prisoner through any extra agony of having to go all that last day knowing it was your last.

The same argument could be made though for trying to have a good night sleep knowing that you are going to die the very next morning. However, the question was a good one and one this examiner had no idea about. Executions are carried out in some of the US states, but not in Montreal where I live

However since I am a retired therapist mental health is always of interest to her, whether it be the criminal's mental health or the mental health of the average law abiding citizen.

Imagine what it must be like to go through the last day of your life knowing that you would die at one minute after midnight. I mean Cinderella's couch turned into a pumpkin at midnight but the condemned is turned into a corpse.

The Crips and Bloods notorious street gangs in South Central Los Angeles

You may remember the famous death-row inmate Stanley "Toukie" Williams who was the gang founder of the Crips. His street gang was responsible for holdups, muggings and murders in California. The famous "Bloods and Crips" gained notoriety in the 1970's. Williams said his intention when starting the gang was to keep his neighbourhood free from the crimes perpetrated by other neighbourhood gangs.

He admitted that his South Central Los Angeles street gang turned into a monster and they began to commit crimes, such as assault, robbery and the murder. Though until and including the day of his execution he still refused to give authorities any of the details of gang activities.

Founder of the notorious gang the L.A. Crips

Stanley "Toukie" Williams founder of the notorious gang the L.A. Crips

Williams never admitted to any crimes but later in 1993, when he changed his life around he admitted that street gangs were wrong, lending their formation as a recipe for trouble surmounting to the destruction of young lives. His concern at that point transferred from violence to anti-violence and he began to write books for children denouncing street gangs and warning them to stay away from that kind of street life.

Throughout the years he had many advocates fighting for his life. Then on Dec 3, 2005, after clemency and a four-week stay of execution, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger finally rejected his postponements. Williams was given a lethal injection at one minute past midnight, but it took a half hour to find a vein and finish the job. He was executed for the murder of Albert Owens which he carried out in 1979.

So we come back to the question why was Williams executed after midnight or why does any state execute anybody after midnight?

Andy Bowers states the major reason for executions carried out at night is that a death warrant is only good for one day - a 24 hour period according to California law. That means if the execution is not carried out in the designated time another warrant is required.

This information conflicts with Wikipedia which states the time to execute a death warrant will depend upon the state, but on an average it is 60 days, giving the state ample time for stay of execution. Wikipedia states for the state of California no less than 60 days must elapse but not more than 90 days to carry out the order.

Since Mr. Bowers has conferred with the Death Penalty Information Center, the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation and the California Correctional Services, we will take his word over that of Wikipedia.

Last hangings in Canada

Though these midnight executions seem more private, there is still the town square spectacle, whether it be public executions in the USA, beheading in 14th century France, or what have you, when you have media coverage in some high profile cases it becomes a spectacle. At that point midnight closed affair has no meaning.

Montreal's Bordeaux Prison was the prison where hangings used to take place. Canada no longer has the death penalty except for murders of the police or other law enforcement officers. Bordeaux Prison was constructed between 1902 and 1912. It was fashioned after the Pennsylvania Prison system of the time.

The last actual hanging at Bordeaux Jail in Montreal was on February 10, 1956, though the last hanging in Canada was in Don Jail on December 11, 1962. The day that the last hanging occurred in Montreal, the flag flew and the bells chimes seven times, to notify the community that Wilbert Coffin would lose his life.

Wilbert Coffin was a mining prospector and a accomplished outdoors-man, he came from Gaspe, Quebec. Gaspe was a popular region for American outdoors-men from Pennsylvania to come and vacation. Coffin met up with three of the Americans and was last seen with one of them at a gas station before the three Americans were found murdered in the woods.

The jury found Coffin guilty of murdering one of the American Woodsmen, and Coffin was sentenced to hang at Bordeaux Jail. The eyewitness testimony was flimsy and the case was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and still the death sentence prevailed.

Montrealers were appalled with the verdict based on the circumstantial evidence and a movement to abolish the death penalty based on the argument that too many innocent people are hanged ensued.

Over the years other Canadians who were at first found guilty such as David Milgaard, Guy Paul Morin, and Donald Marshall were saved from the death penalty when new evidence was brought forward showing that the courts don't always get it right.

All photos taken from the public domain
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Bloods And Crips, Books For Children, Bordeaux Jail, Death Penalty, Death Warrant Death Sentence, Executions, Executions At Night, Gangs, Penal Code, Stanley Toukie Williams, Stay Of Execution, Street Gangs, Street Life

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar LivelyAurora
25th Jun 2015 (#)

I believe that killing people in midnight is actually a good idea. For a murderer's case, this means that when they execute the kill, they have a lot of time for them to clean up the evidence, and get out of there. Doing it in the middle of the day, where everyone is awake, there is a chance someone just saw you enter the house.

Also, committing suicide at night is usually because that person does not want to be stopped. When doing so, they have better chances of being successful, because at day, there is a chance the parent will walk in at the right time to stop them. And while doing it at midnight, you are able to make sure that people won't grieve so quickly.

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author avatar Retired
25th Jun 2015 (#)

Your articles are so interesting, Carol. I did not know anything about the hour of executions and never for a moment considered that any particular day would be my last.

I would assume a night time execution might be the best for the executee but how foolish of me to think that it would have been anything but what the lawmakers thought would be best.

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author avatar Shamarie
26th Jun 2015 (#)

I remember when Stanley Tookie Williams was given lethal injection for the murder of Albert Owens. It was the talk of my college campus. Thanks for sharing, Carol!!!

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