This week in 1882

July 18th, 2013 by admin

“…My dying prayer on the gallows; I tremble for the fate of my murderers. This nation will go down in the blood. My murderers, from the Executive to the hangman, will go to Hell…”

— Charles Julius Guiteau, convicted of murder, hanging, Washington, DC.
Executed June 30, 1882

Guiteau spent his early years roaming the United States, working in as varied of fields as journalism, religious work, and law. He was arrested several times on charges of embezzlement and thievery, though no charges stuck. In 1881, he moved to Washington, DC, and demanded a foreign diplomatic office from President James A. Garfield, haunting federal buildings for a chance to speak to him. Guiteau purchased a revolver and shot the president in a train depot on July 2, 1881. Garfield hovered between life and death for eighty days, and when he succumbed, Guiteau was indicted for murder.

His defense was insanity; throughout the court proceedings he repeatedly erupted in outrageous displays, which garnered him the nickname “the Hyena.”

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