This week in 1985

January 19th, 2014 by admin

Addressing Gov. Richard W. Wiley directly:
“Killing is wrong when I did it. It is wrong when you do it. I hope you have the courage and the moral strength to stop the killing. I have no bitterness toward anyone. May God bless and forgive you all.”

— Joseph Carl Shaw, convicted of murder, electric chair, South Carolina.
Executed January 11, 1985

Shaw’s pending execution reignited capital punishment politics in the state, leading the South Carolina Coalition Against the Death Penalty to place a large ad in the state’s largest newspaper. The opposition distributed more than a thousand bumper stickers with a picture of the electric chair and the caption “Use it!”

Shaw pleaded guilty in the shooting deaths of a teenage couple, after which he had mutilated the young girl’s body. The New York Times reported, “Mr. Shaw was also sentenced to life in prison for murdering Betty Swank about a week before the other killings.” The newspaper noted that Shaw had accomplices in both crimes.

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