This week in 1879

May 26th, 2013 by admin

After the initial volley of bullets failed to kill him:
“Oh my God! Oh my God! They have missed!”

Wallace Wilkerson, convicted of murder, firing squad, Utah. Executed May 16, 1879

Wilkerson, age forty-five, refused the traditional blindfold and restraints during his execution for killing a man over a disputed card game. A cigar remained in his hand during his final moments. Unfortunately for Wilkerson, the bullets missed his vital organs, and he struggled for breath for fifteen to twenty-seven minutes, depending on the account, before dying. A reporter from the Ogden Junction newspaper criticized the execution, writing: “The French guillotine never fails.”

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