This week in 1866

February 3rd, 2014 by admin

“I don’t know as I’ve got anything to say; I am going to be hanged, and don’t want to make a stump speech.”

— Barney Olwell, convicted of murder, hanging, California.
Executed January 22, 1866

Working for a hog farmer, Olwell was owed forty-two dollars, which his employer kept promising to pay him. After an argument Olwell shot him dead, later telling the arresting officer: “Any man who owed me money and did not pay me, I would kill him.” Olwell was eventually granted a second trial after the court accepted evidence of insanity. He was again found guilty and sentenced to die. After Olwell delivered his last words, according to the California Police Gazette, a priest “leaned forward and whispered in his ear a mild rebuke for this seeming levity.”

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