This week in 1987

May 29th, 2013 by admin

“I guess nobody is going to call, I guess nobody is going to call. . . . Let’s go with it, let’s go with it.”

— Edward Earl Johnson, convicted of murder, gas chamber, Mississippi.
Executed May 20, 1987

Thirty feet from the gas chamber, Johnson sat in his cell and read the Bible, sang hymns, and played chess with family. Although he had no prior criminal record, Johnson had been convicted of shooting town marshal Jake Trest five times. A key witness initially said Johnson was not the killer, then changed her story. Johnson claimed to have been intimidated into a false confession when, he contended, officers threatened him and his grandparents with violence. Johnson and his family maintained his innocence to the end. Until the last moment, he believed a telephone call would halt his execution.

Johnson’s execution and case were the basis of the documentary “Fourteen Days in May.”

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